- The Washington Times - Monday, June 28, 2004

Cameron Beckman was disappointed when his par putt lipped out on the final hole of British Open international qualifying yesterday at Congressional Country Club’s Blue Course.

He figured he blew his chance to play in his first British Open at Royal Troon next month, but disappointment turned into surprise when he reached the nearby scoreboard and learned he earned the final qualifying spot. Beckman’s birdies at his 34th and 35th holes gave him a cushion, meaning the bogey didn’t matter.

Beckman, who shot a 6-under 66 on the Blue Course after opening with an even-par 71 on the Gold Course, was one of 15 players who shot 137 or lower and earned a spot at Troon.

“I bogeyed the last, and I figured that was it,” said Beckman, who shot 66 in the final round of Sunday’s Booz Allen Classic. “I’ve never even played British-style golf, but I always wanted to play in that tournament.”

This year is the first time the British Open used international qualifiers, staging competitions on five continents, three of which took place yesterday. The idea was to give more golfers a chance to qualify.

Spike McRoy and Swedes Carl Pettersson and Mathias Gronberg shared the top spot at 9-under 134. Pettersson shot a 63 on the Gold course, while Gronberg followed a 69 on the Gold with a 65 on the Blue — the round of the day on the course that played host to the 1997 U.S. Open. Former PGA champion Steve Elkington also qualified with a 135 total.

Gronberg holed a bunker shot on the par-5 10th hole for eagle and drained a 45-foot birdie putt at 18 to come home in 31.

“[The bunker shot] on 10 really got me going,” he said. “I’ve really struggled with my game for three or four weeks, but I found something [Sunday].”

The 34-year-old Gronberg, who missed the cut at the Booz Allen Classic, played 27 holes at Congressional on Sunday.

True disappointment came to the seven players at 138 — John Morgan, Mark Hensby, Joe Ogilvie, Tom Byrum, Duffy Waldorf, Jimmy Green and Alex Cejka — who thought Beckman gave them a second chance. Instead they were in a playoff for alternate spots.

Lee Janzen, the 1993 and 1998 U.S. Open champion, was forced to play in yesterday’s qualifier because his exemption for the 1998 victory ran out. Janzen finished at 3 under.

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