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Page last updated at 20:28 GMT, Monday, 24 May 2010 21:28 UK

PGA hero Khan misses US Open spot

Simon Khan
Khan had to accept a spot on the reserve list for Pebble Beach

New PGA champion Simon Khan missed out in a six-man play-off in qualifying for next month's US Open at Pebble Beach.

A day after his Wentworth win, the Englishman made the play-off at Walton Heath for the last five US Open spots after six players qualified by right.

But Khan was the only player not to birdie the first extra hole after the group were tied at the end of 36 holes.

Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie missed out on the play-off by three shots, and later blamed poor putting.

England's James Morrison carded 68, 65 to end 11 under and win by two strokes from Argentina's Rafa Echenique.

I was just running on empty and it was only the thought of going to Pebble Beach that kept me going

Simon Khan

Welshman Rhys Davies, Ireland's Gareth Maybin, England's Gary Boyd and Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello also qualified after finishing eight under, one stroke clear of the play-off.

The 37-year-old Khan shot rounds of 67 and 70 for a seven-under-par total after getting up at 0600 BST following his life-changing £637,000 victory.

But he had to watch as his three playing partners all sank their birdie putts at the first attempt in the play-off.

Swede Rikard Karlberg made a 25-footer before French pair Gregory Havret and Jean-Francois Lucquin holed from 15 and 14 feet respectively.

"Unbelievable - I thought one of them would miss," said Khan, who missed his putt from 15 feet.

606: DEBATE

Spaniard Pablo Martin and Finn Mikko Ilonen had both made birdies in the first play-off group before the quartet involving Khan reached the hole.

Khan might still earn a place in the second major of the year as the first reserve from the Surrey course.

"I don't feel too bad because Sunday night was just so brilliant for me, but I was absolutely exhausted by the time of the play-off," said Khan.

"Swing-wise I'm delighted with how I played, but I couldn't focus on the greens.

"I was just running on empty and it was only the thought of going to Pebble Beach that kept me going."

Khan has skipped this week's Madrid Masters and will return to action a week on Thursday in the Wales Open at Celtic Manor, a tournament he won in 2004.

Montgomerie, bidding to return to the Californian course on which he finished third on his debut in 1992, said: "It's very disappointing.

He's just exhausted. Chris has been in contention the last three weeks and last week was a big week

Management spokesman Ian Garbutt explains the non-appearance of Chris Wood

"I had an opportunity to get to eight under easy, but missed too many putts as usual. Same old story for six years. I'll try again at Sunningdale."

That was a reference to the Open Championship qualifier in two weeks' time, when he will be trying to earn a return to St Andrews, scene of his runner-up finish to Tiger Woods five years ago.

Former Ryder Cup team-mate Darren Clarke also failed to make it through, and so did 17-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero, who as an amateur came 13th in the Open last July and 36th in the Masters last month.

Manassero finished on five under, but Clarke was way down the field on two over.

The Italian, who has now turned professional, played with a home club member when scheduled partner Chris Wood failed to show and was disqualified.

Wood, the 54-hole leader at Wentworth who then crashed to a 77, will avoid a £1,000 fine after management spokesman Ian Garbutt said that messages about his withdrawal had been left with the United States Golf Association and the European Tour.

"He's just exhausted," said Garbutt. "Chris has been in contention the last three weeks and last week was a big week."

In 2005, New Zealander Michael Campbell went on to win the US Open after qualifying from the Walton Heath pool.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell was one of 13 foreign golfers among 15 additional players to earn exemptions for Pebble Beach, the US Golf Association announced on Monday.

Ranked 49th in the world, McDowell was handed his exemption as one of the top 50 in the world rankings on Monday who had not yet qualified.

Australians Robert Allenby and Adam Scott, South Korean KJ Choi, Colombia's Camilo Villegas, Sweden's Peter Hanson and Robert Karlsson, Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez and Alvaro Quiros, South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and Italy's Edoardo Molinari were the other foreigners to qualify.

Americans Anthony Kim and Ben Crane were also added, bringing the number of exempt players to 78 out of a field of 156.

The US Open, which was won last year by American Lucas Glover, takes place between 17-20 June.



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see also
Glover grabs dramatic US Open win
22 Jun 09 |  Golf
Khan captures shock Wentworth win
23 May 10 |  Golf
Maybin clinches place in US Open
24 May 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf


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