PGA Tour rookie English leads eight in qualifying for British Open

Harris English
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Harris English's 10-under 60 was the lowest 18-hole qualifying score since the R&A began holding qualifying in the United States in 2004.
Associated Press

Series: European Tour

Published: Monday, May 21, 2012 | 11:59 p.m.

PLANO, Texas -- PGA Tour rookie Harris English shot a course best and International Final Qualifying-America record 60 on Monday and easily qualified for the British Open.

English shot a 63 in his afternoon round on the par-70 Queens Course at Gleneagles Country Club, just outside of Dallas, for a 123 total, to snag one of the eight available spots in the British Open from July 19-22 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

The 60 was the lowest 18-hole qualifying score since the R&A began holding qualifying in the United States in 2004. Records were incomplete if it was the lowest 18-hole score ever shot in British Open qualifying worldwide.

''It was a very relaxing round. I just lost track on what I was doing,'' said English, whose best PGA Tour finish was a tie for 16th at the Mayakoba Golf Classic earlier in the year. ''It's pretty amazing.''

He had eight birdies and an eagle on the par-5 10th hole in his record morning round, plus seven birdies in the afternoon.

Fred Couples' 62 in 2005 was the previous course record.

English, 22, said he was unaware of his record score until his caddie told him after making another birdie, his seventh, on his closing hole with a 20-foot putt.

''It certainly was a nice surprise,'' English said.

Also qualifying was England's Greg Owen, who shot 66-61--127, and Canadian Stephen Ames, who shot a morning 69, but rebounded with an afternoon 61 for a 130 total.

For Owen, it will be an emotional homecoming as he grew up in Nottingham, 90 minutes south of Lytham.

''I haven't been home in a long while and it will be nice to see my family and for them to see their grandchildren,'' he said.

Owen played in the 2001 Open at Royal Lytham, where he tied for 23rd.

American Justin Hicks (67-63-130) and Argentina's Andres Romero (67-63-130) also qualified.

There was a four-way playoff for the final three spots between Americans James Driscoll (66-65-131) and Bob Estes (66-65), Scotland's Russell Knox (65-66) and Sweden's Daniel Chopra (64-67). Estes made birdie on the first playoff hole to qualify for his 11th British Open. Chopra and Driscoll made pars on the second playoff hole while Knox was eliminated.

Among those missing out in the field of 78 full of PGA Tour regulars was two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen (65-71-136).