Date: May 27, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Seven Aussies set for US Open

Australia’s US Open contingent has swelled to seven three weeks before the tournament goes to Washington state for the first time.

Victorian Marc Leishman was added overnight based on his world ranking of 60 – right on the threshold of exempt invitees after the weekend’s results.

It was a marked turn in luck for the Warrnambool ace, who forewent his Masters start in April to be with his seriously ill wife Audrey, who has since recovered.

He will join previously qualified players Jason Day, Adam Scott, past champion Geoff Ogilvy and John Senden at Chambers Bay, south of Seattle, from June 18-21.

And then there are two qualifiers from international events held on Monday – both in dramatic playoffs.

Corowa and Melbourne’s Marcus Fraser won through in a five-man playoff for the final four spots on offer in the European qualifier at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England.

And Muswellbrook’s Kurt Barnes joined the Aussie party when he was one of three successful players in a five-man playoff after the Asian qualifier at Kinojo Golf Club in Japan.

Both Aussies took the heat out of their situations with early birdies to wrap up trips to the US west coast.

Fraser, 36, nailed his third US Open appearance with a birdie on the first extra hole, while Barnes will make his debut after making a birdie on his second bonus hole – a top way to celebrate his 34th birthday.

Some big names missed out on qualification in Surrey, with three-time major champion Padraig Harrington and American Peter Uihlein, who won the 2010 US Amateur championship at Chambers Bay, both missing the playoff by a shot.

Other players who earned exemptions through world rankings are were Byeong-Hun An, Paul Casey, George Coetzee, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson, Matthew Every, Tommy Fleetwood, Stephen Gallacher, Branden Grace, Charley Hoffman, J.B. Holmes, Thongchai Jaidee, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Anirban Lahiri, Shane Lowry, Joost Luiten, Ben Martin, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Marc Warren, Lee Westwood, Bernd Wiesberger and Danny Willett.

Sectional qualifying in the US on Monday, June 8, will be played in California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Ohio (x2), Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

The field will be finalised on Monday, June 15, when any players new to the top 60 in the world rankings can be added.