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Challenge Tour alumni secure spots at U.S. Open

Challenge Tour alumni secure spots at U.S. Open

Eight former Challenge Tour players secured their places at next month's U.S. Open in Final Qualifying at Walton Heath yesterday.

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Nine places were available for the third men’s Major Championship of the year, and it was Grant Forrest, Richard Mansell and Brandon Robinson-Thompson who shared top spot on ten under par after 36 holes, with each competitor playing one round on each of the Old and New Courses.

Robinson-Thompson will make his U.S. Open debut at Pinehurst, less than a year after playing in his first Major Championship at The 151st Open at Hoylake. The Englishman took the golfing world by storm in 2023 after securing victory at the Irish Challenge in his first Challenge Tour appearance. He went on to finish 22nd on the Road to Mallorca Rankings and narrowly miss out on his DP World Tour card.

Mansell graduated from the Challenge Tour in 2020 after finishing fourth on the Rankings and he will now tee it up in his second U.S. Open after a maiden appearance in 2022, while Forrest will return to Pinehurst for the first time since the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship as a junior.

England’s Robert Rock stepped back from playing on the DP World Tour after the 2022 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, and he made a remarkable comeback as he carded rounds of 69-66 to finish on nine under par alongside countryman Sam Bairstow.

Bairstow earned promotion to the DP World Tour last season after finishing 18th on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, which included a maiden professional victory at the Farmfoods Scottish Challenge supported by the R&A.

Also securing their spots for the 2024 U.S. Open were Challenge Tour graduates Matteo Manassero, Edoardo Molinari and Tom McKibbin.

Manassero, the youngest winner in DP World Tour history, returned to the Europe’s top tier after securing two victories on the Challenge Tour in 2023 and he went on to end his near 11-year wait for a fifth DP World Tour title with an emotional triumph at the Jonsson Workwear Open.

2023 Ryder Cup Vice-Captain Molinari won three times on the Challenge Tour in 2009 to top the Rankings and he has since picked up three DP World Tour victories and will now participate in his second U.S. Open later this month.

McKibbin earned his DP World Tour playing privileges after finishing tenth on the Road to Mallorca Rankings in 2022 and he wasted no time in entering the winner’s circle with victory at the Porsche European Open last year. The 21-year-old will make his first Major appearance at the same venue he played in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship.

Australian Jason Scrivener was the ninth player to secure his place at the U.S. Open, while former Challenge Tour players Casey Jarvis and Andrea Pavan earnt the alternate spots after a play-off consisting of four extra holes.

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