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May 28, 2022

Donald grabs U.S. Open berth in Ohio playoff

(Reuters) – Former world number one Luke Donald earned a berth in next week’s U.S. Open at Oakmont following a playoff at a qualifying event in Powell, Ohio, on Tuesday.

Donald, whose best finish at the U.S. Open was a tie for eighth in 2013, was one of six players battling in a playoff that awarded the last five berths from the qualifier for the year’s second major.

“Glad it’s all over,” Donald told Golf Channel after waking up at 5 a.m. ET (0900 GMT) on Tuesday to get on the course after sunrise to make two pars and earn a return trip to Oakmont.

The others advancing to the year’s second major, which will be played June 16-19 outside Pittsburgh, were Patrick Rodgers, Jason Allred, Richard Schembechler II and Scottie Scheffler.

Daniel Summerhays was the odd man out in the playoff among players on five-under 137 and will be first alternate, while Adam Hadwin of Canada (138) will serve as second alternate.

Players returned to Kinsale and Wedgewood Golf and Country Club after beginning the 36-hole sectional qualifier on Monday.

A field of 103 that included many PGA Tour players were competing for 13 places in the U.S. Open.

Bryson DeChambeau, 22, had gained a U.S. Open exemption when he won last year’s U.S. Amateur but forfeited that spot when he turned professional a week after the 2016 Masters.

DeChambeau (70-63) finished joint second in the Ohio sectional, one behind Mexican Carlos Ortiz (66-66).

Among those failing to qualify were 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Erik Compton (138), Australian Aaron Baddeley (141) and Camilo Villegas of Colombia (143).

K.J. Choi of South Korea withdrew after an opening 71, as did Australian Stuart Appleby after a 74.

For Donald, now No. 80 in the world, it was another positive sign as he tries to move back up the world rankings.

The Englishman used to routinely qualify for the majors, but in April he missed the Masters for the first time since 2004 and had to earn his place in the U.S. Open for a second consecutive year.

“I want to play majors,” Donald said. “Sitting on the couch isn’t going to do me any good. I want to play for as long as I can.”

In Jacksonville, Florida, players returned to Timuquana Country Club after Monday’s qualifying was halted due to darkness.

Australian Aron Price shot 69-66 for 135 to lead the qualifier and was joined in the Oakmont field by Tim Wilkinson of New Zealand (137), Matthew Borchert (138) and amateur Sam Horsfield (138) among 63 players competing.

Among those failing to qualify were former world number one Vijay Singh of Fiji (147), who has seven top 10s at the U.S. Open, and Australian Nick O’Hern (145).

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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