British Open invites alternates


Associated Press

BETHESDA, Md. — Erik Compton’s runner-up finish in the U.S. Open should be enough to get him into the next major championship.

With only two weeks remaining in British Open qualifying, there will not be enough players to fill the 156-man field at Royal Liverpool. The R&A then turns to an alternate list that is almost certain to accommodate Compton, the two-time heart transplant recipient who is having his best year.

The alternate list is based on next week’s world ranking.

With at least 12 spots available, Compton currently is No. 4 on the list and unlikely to fall much further.

Others closing in on spot, based on this week’s ranking, are Kevin Stadler, J.B. Holmes, K.J. Choi, Charles Howell III and Brooks Koepka, who tied for fourth at the U.S. Open. Freddie Jacobson currently is at No. 8. The Swede squandered a chance to earn one of four spots available to top finishers Sunday in the Quicken Loans National.

As of Monday, 121 players who intend to compete July 17-20 at Royal Liverpool are exempt or have qualified. There are 12 spots available Tuesday at four British links in local final qualifying. Eleven spots have been set aside for leading players in the next two PGA Tour and European Tour events.

That would put the field at 144 players.

The Open changed its international qualifying this year, eliminating the 36-hole qualifiers in Europe and America and offering spots to top players in tour events.

Even so, that doesn’t appear to be the reason for the shortfall.

This will be the second straight year The Open takes at least 10 players from the alternate list.

And sometimes, it works the other way around. Two years ago, The Open essentially was overbooked because more players were exempt than officials anticipated. There were 160 players eligible at one point in 2012 until four players eventually withdrew for various reasons.

Even if they had not, Britain has enough daylight in the summer that the R&A simply would have added another tee time.

 

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