U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III was among eight players who qualified for the British Open on Monday, giving him a spot in all four majors for the first time since 2007.
Brian Davis of England was the medalist at Gleneagles Country Club with a 6-under 64, while Chad Campbell finished one shot behind. The 36-hole United States edition of International Final Qualifying (IFQ) was reduced to 18 holes because of heavy rain that caused a six-hour delay.
2011 BRITISH OPEN
International Final Qualifying (IFQ) events are held on five continents to give more players the chance to gain direct entry into golf's oldest championship.
UNITED STATES QUALIFIER
The top eight finishers in the U.S. edition of International Final Qualifying guaranteed their spots in the 2011 British Open.
1. Brian Davis
2. Chad Campbell
T3. Nathan Green
T3. Davis Love III
T3. Spencer Levin
T3. Chris Tidland
T3. Bob Estes
T8. Jerry Kelly
Spaniard Sergio Garcia, 31, withdrew because of an infected fingernail on his left hand that made it difficult for him to grip the club. Garcia has played in every British Open since he was an amateur at Royal Birkdale in 1998.
The British Open will be played July 15-17 at Royal St. George’s.
Love, who tied for fourth when the British Open was held at Royal St. George’s in 2003, was in the group of qualifiers at 66 that included Nathan Green, Spencer Levin, Chris Tidland and Bob Estes.
Jerry Kelly, who had a 67, earned the last spot in a six-for-one playoff, beating out Justin Hicks. It at least will give Kelly a shot at redemption at Royal St. George’s, where in 2003 he made an 11 on the opening hole with four shots that traveled about 15 feet in the thick rough. Kelly wound up with an 86 and had to withdraw with a wrist injury.
Davis had a 68-68 weekend at Royal St. George’s in 2003 and tied for sixth, his best finish in a British Open. In the International Final Qualifying event Monday, he had six birdies in a bogey-free round that left little doubt of his return to England.
“I had a really good ball-striking round today and any mishit shot I had went straight, so you know you’re playing good when that happens,” Davis said.
Brandt Snedeker was among those who failed to qualify in the playoff. He is No. 47 in the world, with the top 50 after this week’s tournaments getting into the championship.
Others who failed to qualify included Australian Stuart Appleby, Brian Gay, Paul Goydos and Mike Weir.
PGA Tour players still can get into the British Open over the next few months through a special money list that includes the Players Championship and the five consecutive tournaments through the AT&T National; and for being the highest finisher among the top 10 not already exempt in the AT&T National and the John Deere Classic.
That includes Garcia, who has not missed a major dating to the 1999 U.S. Open and now risks missing two in a row. Garcia, who is No. 73 in the world, already has said he will only play the U.S. Open if he gets into the top 50 by June 13.
“I couldn’t grip the club properly today and it prevented me from playing when I wanted it most,” Garcia said. “It’s a setback, but I’m happy with the direction my game is headed and I’ll be looking to make up for it the rest of the season. I always look forward to the Open Championship, and to have to withdraw today is a huge disappointment.
“Having a problem with your finger is obviously a big issue for a golfer.”
International Final Qualifying (IFQ) events were introduced in 2004 and are held on five continents to give more players from around the world the chance to gain direct entry into golf's oldest championship. The first three IFQ events of 2011 were held in Australia, South Africa and Asia, while the last one is set for June 6 at Sunningdale in England.