(Reuters) - England’s former world number one Luke Donald led a host of big-name players who fought their way through 36 holes of qualifying on Monday to secure spots at next week’s U.S. Open.
At 10 sectional sites throughout the country, little-known competitors and former champions alike were battling for the chance to qualify for the June 18-21 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington.
Donald, a five-times winner on the PGA Tour who tied for eighth in the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, fired scores of level-par 72 and 68 to advance with three other players from a field of 70 in the qualifier at The Bear’s Club in Jupiter, Florida.
“It’s been a while since I walked 36 holes, but we made it! @patgossnugolf did a fine job on the bag,” Donald tweeted, referring to his swing coach Pat Goss, the man who recruited him and brought him to Northwestern University in the late 1990s.
Twice U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, who clinched his first victory on the over-50s Champions Tour at the ACE Group Classic in February, headed four qualifiers in Purchase, New York.
Janzen, winner of the 1993 and 1998 U.S. Opens, shot 69 and 68 at Century Country Club and Old Oaks Country Club to book his place at the year’s second major for the first time since 2008.
South African Retief Goosen, U.S. Open champion in 2001 and 2004, advanced with nine other players from a field of 121 in Memphis, Tennessee.
Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa and Colombian Camilo Villegas were among 15 players who secured Open spots in Columbus, Ohio, where Washington State native Michael Putnam led the way after shooting 68 and 64.
Swede David Lingmerth, who won his first PGA Tour title by beating Justin Rose in a playoff for the Memorial Tournament on Sunday, failed to advance from Columbus after scores of 71 and 70.
Several big names withdrew from the qualifier in Columbus after play was suspended due to threatening weather after the first 18 holes — including former world number one Vijay Singh and fellow PGA Tour veterans Steve Stricker and Stewart Cink.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury