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Monty misses out on US Open qualification

ESPN staff
May 28, 2012 « Bresnan: My place isn't safe | Chartbeat test »
Colin Montgomerie fell short in his bid to play at this year's US Open © PA Photos
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Colin Montgomerie suffered disappointment after failing to qualify for next month's US Open, despite having made a 900-mile round trip for a new putter.

After capitulating in the final round of the BMW PGA Championship at the weekend, when he hit a closing 81, Montgomerie returned home to Perthshire to pick up a different short stick.

With the new putter on board, the Scot headed back to Surrey to compete in the 36-hole US Open qualifier at Walton Heath where, after a bright start, a 72 saw him miss out on one of the 11 spots on offer.

"Who in their right mind would do that? But yes, I did," Montgomerie said. "I left Wentworth at 2pm, was home at 8pm, had tea with the family, left at 11pm and got here just after 6am."

Montgomerie's lengthy journey looked to be paying dividends after an opening four-under 68 - the third lowest score of the morning on the Old Course - put him in a great position. However, the 48-year-old did not fare as well on the New Course in the afternoon, following up his earlier effort with a more modest 72.

Current Ryder Cup captain José María Olazábal also missed out on a place for the second major of the year, which gets underway at The Olympic Club in San Francisco on June 14. The Spaniard impressed with an opening 67 before a 74 ended his hopes.

Alex Noren and Marc Warren secured their spots after finishing as joint leaders on nine-under-par, and they will be joined at the Olympic Club by Lee Slattery, Søren Kjeldsen, George Coetzee, Grégory Bourdy and Mikko Ilonen - all of which finished two shots back on seven under.

Five players - Sihwan Kim, Matthew Baldwin, Raphaël Jacquelin, Matteo Manassero and Peter Lawrie - all on six under, had to scrap it out in a play-off for the remaining four berths. Baldwin and Manassero birdied the first extra hole to secure their places at the US Open, with Kim the unfortunate player to miss out after failing to get up and down for par on the second extra hole.

Manassero said: "It feels great, especially to do it with a birdie in the play-off. There was a lot of tension, because there was so much to play for. So it means a lot to me to get my place, and I'm really looking forward to going back to play in America.

"It should be a great experience, and I've heard really good things about the course. There are lots of World Ranking points available, so hopefully I can play well and climb the Rankings and The Race to Dubai. Everybody wants to play in the big tournaments, and they don't come much bigger than the US Open. I can't wait."

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