- The Washington Times - Monday, July 6, 2009

Bryce Molder’s amateur career took him to Great Britain for the Palmer Cup and Walker Cup.

Thanks to a fourth-place finish at the AT&T; National on Sunday, he’ll finally return for a British Open.

The 30-year-old wrapped up a strong week with a 2-under 68, securing his first British Open appearance.

“I came in and I didn’t know what to expect with the Open Championship,” said Molder, a former All-American at Georgia Tech. “I knew I was fairly close, and I knew it was a lot of factors going on. It wasn’t just me playing well; it was other people if they played well. I played really well, and it sounds like I’m in now. That means a lot to me.”

Molder, who tied for second last month in Memphis, Tenn., was in contention for one of two exemptions into the British. The top nonexempt player who finished in the top five and the top two players on a money list that includes six events played since early May earned spots. Molder would have qualified either way.

Still, it took a methodical final round. Molder recorded birdies at a couple of par 3s - Nos. 7 and 13 - and added another at the 15th before bogeying his final hole.

“When you have a good stretch of holes you kind of have to pray to God and thank him when you did,” Molder said. “I don’t want to say it’s inconsistent in a bad way out there, but it’s tough out there because the pins are in places where if you don’t know how the ball is going to land and react, you’re taking a little bit of a gamble.”

The other two players to earn spots in the British were Paul Goydos and Ricky Barnes.

Marino’s rough day

While Hunter Mahan challenged for the championship with a 62, playing partner Steve Marino went in the other direction.

For all the good fortune Mahan encountered, Marino found the exact opposite. The University of Virginia product shot 76 and finished tied for 40th, realized when a possible birdie turned into disaster at No. 7.

“I almost flew it in and it hit the pin and rolled back off the green, and I was totally screwed and made a bogey,” Marino said. “It was going to be [two feet] from the hole, and I ended up making a bogey. At that point I turned to my caddie and said, ‘Dude, it is not our day today.’ I’m just glad it’s over.”

Hill savors the week

Amateur Matt Hill wrapped up his first PGA Tour event with a 5-over 75 but still managed to cap his memorable week with 32-foot par putt at the 18th.

While Hill, the winner of the NCAA championship in May, tied for 70th at 10 over, it was still a beneficial week for the 20-year-old, who will return to N.C. State for his junior season.

“I’m going to take a lot from this, just learning to work on my game and just that I can play with these guys,” Hill said. “Obviously, the last two days were a little disappointing with the way I played. I struggled a little bit with parts of my game and made some mistakes I don’t usually make, and putts didn’t quite go in.”

Hill, a native of Ontario, said he also received an invitation to play in the Canadian Open later this month.

Give and take

It was a down-and-up-and-down day for 50-year-old Michael Allen, who entered the day a shot out of the lead, and a two-stroke stretch exemplified his troubles.

Allen was 4 over through eight holes when he fired a 9-iron from 143 yards at No. 9 that trickled in for an eagle and led to an impromptu celebration in the fairway. Then at the 10th, he plunked his tee shot into the water well shy of the green en route to a 74 and a tie for 11th.

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