Europe’s current and most recent former Ryder Cup Captains, Spaniard José María Olazábal and Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, are amongst 89 hopefuls entered for the US Open Championship Sectional Qualifier at Walton Heath Golf Club on Monday.
Depending on the strength of the final field in Surrey, between nine and 12 places will be available for the second Major of the season, which will be held at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, America, from June 14-17.
Montgomerie, who led Europe to glory at The Celtic Manor Resort in 2010, has featured in a total of 16 US Open Championships, with a trio of runner-up finishes – in 1994, 1997 and 2006 – the closest he has come to victory.
The Scot will start his bid for a 17th appearance alongside Indian Jeev Milkha Singh at 9.10am on Walton Heath’s Old Course, and the duo will complete the two round qualifier on the New Course, teeing off at 1.55pm.
Two-time Masters Tournament Champion Olazábal, the man in charge of Europe’s bid to retain The Ryder Cup this September, has 18 US Open Championship appearances to his name, finishing in the top ten three years in a row from 1989.
Olazábal will play with England’s Chris Wood at 9.40am on the New Course, before tackling the Old Course from 2.25pm.
Other notable names who will hope to confirm their places at the Olympic Club include the Italian duo of Matteo Manassero and Ryder Cup star Edoardo Molinari, who tee off on the Old Course at 8.50am and 8.35am respectively.
The pair, who between them have won four European Tour titles, both finished in a tie for 54th place at Congressional Country Club last year, when Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy romped to victory by eight shots.
France’s Grégory Havret, who starts alongside Swede Peter Hedblom at 9.40am on the Old Course, will hope to repeat his 2010 heroics, when he successfully negotiated the qualifier at Walton Heath three weeks before crossing the Atlantic to Pebble Beach Golf Links, finishing in second place behind Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.
England’s Ross Fisher tees up at 8.05am on the Old Course with recent Madeira Islands Open – Portugal winner Ricardo Santos of Portugal, whilst another European Tour champion and 2011 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award winner, Tom Lewis, is paired at 8.05am on the New Course with Frenchman Thomas Levet, a successful qualifier last year.
The 89 players will complete 36 holes to determine the successful qualifiers, with a play-off used to determine the final places in the event of a tie.
There will be no live scoring from the Qualifier, but reports will be appearing on europeantour.com after the first round and at the close of play.