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Monday, June 7, 2010
Love, Lehman, Curtis make field news services

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Justin Rose now has plenty of time to celebrate his big win at the Memorial. One day after his first victory in America, he failed to qualify for the U.S. Open on Monday.

Major champions Tom Lehman, Davis Love III and Ben Curtis led 15 players who earned spots in the U.S. Open, while Rose and the youngster he beat at Muirfield Village -- 21-year-old Rickie Fowler -- did not.

Fowler, who was atop the leaderboard at the Memorial for 48 consecutive holes, had a 73 in the afternoon to miss by six shots.

"Being in contention definitely wears you out quite a bit, and this is my third week in a row playing," Fowler said. "So I'm looking forward to some time off. It would have been nice to be playing in the Open, but it happens."

Fowler moved up to No. 32 in the world on Monday, while Rose went to No. 33 with his first PGA Tour victory. The cutoff for getting into the U.S. Open through the world ranking was two weeks ago because the USGA had to determine how many spots would be available through the qualifiers. Rose shot a 140 to miss by three shots.

The 36-hole day of survival at The Lakes and Brookside courses was among 13 qualifiers across the country to fill out the 156-man field at Pebble Beach on June 17.

Most of the spots came from Columbus and Memphis, Tenn., because of so many PGA Tour players.

Former PGA champion Shaun Micheel was among 12 players who qualified in Memphis. The list includes Paul Goydos, who played a practice round with Tiger Woods on the eve of the last U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and predicted he would win by 10 shots. Woods ended up winning by 15.

Georgia senior Hudson Swafford and Rich Barcelo, who has made six cuts in 11 PGA Tour events this season, led the Memphis field. Swafford missed this season with shoulder surgery and was playing his first competitive rounds.

"I was just happy to be playing again," Swafford said.

Other Tour players to advance included Deane Pappas, Mathias Gronberg, David Frost, J.J. Henry and Brandt Snedeker. Oklahoma State sophomore Morgan Hoffman also made the cut.

Five players will enter a playoff for the final two spots: Roger Tambellini, Scott McCarron, Chris Stroud, Jarrod Lyle and Charles Warren.

Only three spots were available in Houston, and one of them won't be going to an NFL quarterback. Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys withdrew early in the second round after opening with a quadruple bogey, when rain delays pushed the conclusion to Tuesday.

Stuart Appleby, Aaron Baddeley and Bo Van Pelt also qualified in Columbus, along with Puerto Rico winner Derek Lamely and Eric Axley, the medalist with rounds of 64 and 63.

Love, whose streak of 18 consecutive U.S. Open starts ended last year, birdied the final hole with a wedge to 5 feet, then earned his spot in a six-man playoff for the final five spots. The odd man out was Rocco Mediate, famous for losing a 19-hole playoff to Woods at Torrey Pines two years ago. Mediate was eliminated with a bogey on the third extra hole. Mediate advanced out of the same qualifier two years ago.

"I'm excited to get in," said Love, a two-time winner at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. "I've really been hitting the ball well and, like today, I made four bogeys and missed a bunch of easy birdie putts. It would have been a shame, the way I'm hitting it, not to get in."

Lehman, the only player in modern times to play in the final pairing of four consecutive U.S. Opens, was thrilled to return to Pebble Beach. He felt badly for Rose and Fowler, and questioned why such a strong field received only four more spots than the recent qualifier in England for European Tour players.

"You have the Memorial, so you have all the top players are here, from both Europe and the U.S.," Lehman said. "Justin Rose was here qualifying, Rickie Fowler is qualifying. I just feel to have 15 spots here is a slap in the face. It really is. It's a real quality field.

"I just feel, if you're going to err on one side or the other, err on the American soil," he said. "More here, less there, versus more there and less here. That just doesn't sit well with me. I think 11 spots over there is way too many."

Two players not on the PGA Tour were among the 15 qualifiers in Columbus -- Alex Martin, an amateur from Liberty Township, Ohio, and Hugo Leon, who was the second alternate coming out of his 18-hole qualifier last month.

Erik Compton, 30, who two years ago received his second heart transplant, earned one of three spots at the Springfield, Ohio sectional by surviving a playoff.

Compton had his first heart transplant at age 12 then played college golf for the University of Georgia before turning pro in 2001. He suffered a heart attack in the fall of 2007 due to complications with his first transplanted heart, then received a second transplant in May of 2008. Less than six months later, he was playing golf again and remarkably advanced through the first stage of PGA Tour qualifying.

This year, Compton has received four sponsor exemptions into PGA Tour events, making the cut in all four. On Sunday, however, he shot a final-round 82 at the Memorial to finish last, and contemplated withdrawing from the qualifier. Instead he'll be playing in his first major championship.

Brian Davis, who famously called a penalty on himself at Hilton Head in a playoff this year, and Asian teenager Seong Nul Yoh earned the other two spots.

In other qualifiers:

• In Littleton, Ohio, 1992 U.S. Open champion Tom Kite, 60, missed a playoff by one stroke. Kite, who won his Open at Pebble Beach, was the only player to have made the cut in all five majors at Pebble -- 1972, 82, 92 and 2000 Opens and the 1977 PGA Championship. The two spots went to Stephen Allan of Australia and Jason Preeo.

• Ty Tryon, 26, who in 2001 at age 17 became the youngest player to qualify for the PGA Tour through its qualifying event, was one of seven players who advanced through sectional qualifying in Rockville, Md. Others who qualified were Jason Gore and Arjun Atwal of India.

• U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin missed qualifying in Chicago by two shots. The spots went to Jerry Smith and Bennett Blakeman.

• Jon Curran earned the final spot in Summit, N.J., winning a playoff over PGA Tour winner Parker McLachlin. He was among four qualifiers at Canoe Brook Country Club.

• Gary Woodland was among three qualifiers in Hobe Sound, Fla.

• Russell Henley, the nation's top-ranked amateur, earned one of two spots in Roswell, Ga.

• The lone spot in St. Louis went to a local kid, Scott Langley, who helped Illinois to the Big 10 team title this year.

• Jason Allred earned one of the three spots from Portland, Ore.

• Erick Justesen, a part-time caddie at Pebble Beach, led the four players to earn spots in Sacramento. "The U.S. Open -- period -- is my dream. Pebble is just icing on the cake," Justesen said.

Information from's Bob Harig and The Associated Press was used in this report.