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Faldo makes 17th straight U.S. Open

By Associated Press
Published June 9, 2004

ORLANDO - Nick Faldo will play in his 17th consecutive U.S. Open after making birdie on his 36th and final hole at a sectional qualifier Tuesday.

Faldo, who has won six major championships, finished at 5-under-par during the 36-hole qualifier at Lake Nona Country Club and claimed one of the section's three spots in the Open.

"I'm very proud of myself," said Faldo, who won three British Opens and three Masters but has never won the U.S. Open.

Camilo Villegas, a University of Florida All-American competing as a pro for the first time, and PGA touring pro Tripp Isenhour also finished 5-under to earn the other two spots.

On Faldo's last hole, the par-5 ninth, he was in a greenside bunker in two. His third shot stopped 6 feet from the flag and he knocked in the putt.

John Cook, an 11-time winner on the PGA Tour, eagled the same hole a few minutes earlier to finish at 140, but was bumped by Faldo's birdie. Cook still could get into the Open as an alternate.

Qualifying was held at four other sites Tuesday, and in eight sectional qualifiers Monday, several big names didn't make it.

At Columbus, Ohio, an unwieldy 184 players competed for 33 spots. South African Tim Clark was the medalist. Others to advance included Duffy Waldorf, Jeff Maggert, Aaron Baddeley, Mark Calcavecchia and Rory Sabbatini. Among those failing to qualify were Mark O'Meara, Paul Azinger, Robert Gamez, Frank Lickliter II, Scott McCarron and Tom Lehman.

The USGA acknowledged it put too many players in the Columbus sectional, but said the problem stemmed from a large contingent of pros competing one day after the Memorial.

The U.S. Open is next week at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, N.Y.

[Last modified June 9, 2004, 01:00:39]

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