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FAST TRACK TO TOUR: For all the fretting that college players have to spend a year in the minor leagues under the PGA Tour’s new qualifying system, Luke Guthrie already is the second player to show otherwise.

Guthrie won his second straight Big Ten title at Illinois, turned pro after the NCAA Championships and can bank on PGA Tour membership for 2013. He has won twice on the Tour and is No. 2 on the money list, assuring he will be finish among the top 25 to earn a card.

Already this year, Ben Kohles finished up at Virginia and won his first two starts on the Tour to assure getting a card. He is No. 4 on the money list.

Guthrie gets another taste of the future this week in the Open.

“I believed I could compete at that kind of level out here,” Guthrie said. “I didn’t know how I was going to handle that amount of golf. You don’t play that many four-round tournaments until you get out here, which it’s fine for a couple weeks because the adrenaline is going. But after a couple months to keep playing well was nice, and to keep it rolling. I’m happy with how I’ve responded to it that.”

Guthrie is pursuing more than just golf at the moment. He’s still taking classes so he can graduate in December.

“It’s hard, because you come out to a site like this and you just want to practice all day long and hang out here all day long,” Guthrie said. “You have to go back and do an assignment. It’s hard to do, but I worked for four years toward a degree and it’s silly to stop now.”


THE CLINCHER: Martin Kaymer and Jose Maria Canizares share a peculiar piece of Ryder Cup history.

Both delivered the cup-clinching point for Europe, Kaymer with a 6-foot putt on the 18th at Medinah to beat Steve Stricker, Canizares with a 3-foot putt on the 18th at The Belfry in 1989 to beat Ken Green. What makes both moments unusual is that Kaymer and Canizares had played only one match all week, and went into the Sunday singles without having contributed a point.

And they wound up delivering the point that mattered.

“A little strange,” Kaymer said last week at the Dunhill Links Championship. “It was such a fine line between being the hero or the biggest idiot. And fortunately, it went the right way. Obviously, I made the last putt, but it’s a little bit of a … I wouldn’t say uncomfortable situation, but a little strange. Because it was not only me. I had the pleasure to make the last putt, but at the end of the day, I got only one point, even though I played only twice.”

Kaymer and Justin Rose lost a Friday afternoon fourballs match to Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, and Kaymer sat out all day on Saturday. Canizares didn’t play until the final team session, when he and Bernhard Langer lost a fourballs match to Tom Kite and Mark McCumber.

Kaymer said he already has watched video of the cup-clinching putt nearly a half-dozen times.

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