LONDON (Reuters) - Frenchman Alexander Levy earned a debut appearance at the U.S. Open next month after finishing top at the international sectional qualifier at Walton Heath on the outskirts of London on Monday.
Levy fired a six-under-par 66 on the Old Course in the morning and a five-under 67 on the New Course in the afternoon to lead 11 players who booked berths at the year’s second major.
Also advancing were India’s Shiv Kapur, England’s John Parry and Jason Palmer, Swede Alex Noren, Dane Lucas Bjerregaard, Germany’s Marcel Siem, South Africans Garth Mulroy, Tjaart van der Walt and Thomas Aiken and Australian Marcus Fraser.
Triple major champion Padraig Harrington missed out after rounds of 72 and 68.
“I‘m really happy,” Levy told reporters after booking his place at the June 18-21 U.S. Open to be played at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington.
”I played really good golf...I was positive and had a good attitude.
“It will be my first time in the U.S. Open. I missed the Masters so it will be great to play another major.”
Palmer, renowned for his unusual one-handed chipping and bunker play technique, was elated to earn a maiden appearance at a major championship.
”I‘m absolutely thrilled,“ the 30-year-old said after scores of 69 and 68. ”I’ve always wanted to play in a major.
“I knew this would present a good opportunity to do it because I love Walton Heath.”
The final four spots on offer at Walton Heath were decided in a playoff after van der Walt carded a birdie and two eagles in his last six holes to make it a five-way tie for eighth place on five-under 139.
Fraser advanced at the first extra hole before van der Walt, Aiken and Mulroy secured their spots at the third extra hole, with Welshman Oliver Farr missing out.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes, editing by Tony Jimenez