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Who is U.S. Open bound after Final Qualifying at Walton Heath? 

Who is U.S. Open bound after Final Qualifying at Walton Heath? 

After a three-year hiatus, U.S. Open Final Qualifying returned to Walton Heath Golf Club on Tuesday as a host of great storylines emerged among the seven players who earned their spots at The Los Angeles Country Club.

An 84-strong field teed it up at the Surrey-based venue for the 36-hole qualifying event, navigating two rounds over both the Old and New Course on a day of endurance.

Among those involved were past Ryder Cup players, multiple DP World Tour winners, rising stars and several amateurs.

Here, we take a closer look at the seven who will be heading to the 123rd U.S. Open, being held from June 15-18.

Deon Germishuys

The South African finished 20th on last season’s European Challenge Tour Road to Mallorca Rankings to graduate to the DP World Tour. He has since made 14 appearances on Tour so far this season, registering his sole top ten to date at the ISPS HANDA – CHAMPIONSHIP in Japan last month. A closing 66 in the Soudal Open at Rinkven International Golf Club last week earned him a tie for 15th and he took that form into his first visit to U.S. Open Final Qualifying as he followed up an opening six-under 66 with a 68 on the Old Course to book the first Major appearance of his career at the age of 23.

Medalist Deon Germishuys and six other golfers have earned their places in the 2023 U.S. Open field

Ross Fisher

The Englishman is set for his first Major appearance since the 2019 US PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. In registering a seven-under 65 over Walton Heath’s New Course in the first round of qualifying, he matched his best score of the season to hold a share of the lead alongside Northern Ireland’s Tom McKibbin. The 42-year-old has not missed a cut on the DP World Tour since the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in January, with his best result of the campaign so far being a tie for ninth at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship. He won four titles in consecutive years from 2007, with victories at the KLM Open, European Open in 2008, Volvo World Match Play in 2009, and the Irish Open in 2010. He would cap that year off by making a winning Ryder Cup debut at Celtic Manor. The most recent of his five Tour wins came nine years ago at the Tshwane Open in South Africa. Across 33 Major appearances, his best result came at the U.S. Open in 2009 when he finished in a tie for fifth.

Wilco Nienaber

The South African is well known as being one of the biggest hitters in the game. He turned professional as his country's top-ranked amateur golfer after winning the 2019 South African Amateur Championship. Qualified for the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in 2020, before he won his first professional title in 2021 at the Dimension Data Pro-Am, co-sanctioned by the Challenge Tour and Sunshine Tour. Later that season, he missed out on securing a DP World Tour card as he finished 21st on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, one place outside the graduation spots. The 23-year-old is sitting 20th on this season’s Challenge Tour Rankings and finished in a tie for second at the recent Abu Dhabi Challenge in the first of two back-to-back events staged in the Middle East. He previously made his first Major appearance at the 2021 U.S. Open after securing an exemption by virtue of leading the Sunshine Tour's Order of Merit that year.

David Horsey

Along with countryman Fisher, Horsey is one of the most experienced players on the DP World Tour having made more than 370 appearances. Back in 2008 during his first full season on the Challenge Tour, he won twice and recorded seven further top-tens as he finished at the summit of the season-long Rankings to earn a DP World Tour card for the first time. Following his breakthrough DP World Tour title at the BMW International Open in 2010, he won three further titles over the subsequent four years and reached a career-high 77th on the Official World Golf Ranking. The 38-year-old last appeared in a Major at The Open Championship in 2017, meaning his berth in Los Angeles marks an end to a near six-year wait to compete on one of golf's biggest stages.

Alejandro del Rey

Memorably made history with a 14-under-par 58 at the Swiss Challenge on the Challenge Tour in 2021, a year after turning professional. The Spaniard won his maiden Challenge Tour title during the following season in Germany, going on to narrowly miss out on securing a DP World Tour card via the Road to Mallorca Rankings. But weeks later, he sealed his spot through the gruelling Final Stage of Qualifying School. An eight-under 63 in the sixth and final round on the Lakes Course in Tarragona saw him finish fifth and secure one of 28 cards. Since his promotion, the 25-year-old has shown his talent on the DP World Tour, registering a tie for third in Singapore for his best result of the season so far. A pair of matching 68s over the Old Course and New Course at Walton Heath proved good enough to earn his Major debut.

Jens Dantorp

The Swede narrowly missed out on his maiden DP World Tour title at the Soudal Open on Sunday, being edged out by countryman Simon Forsström. The result – his second top five of the campaign after a tie for third at the SDC Championship in March – lifted him inside the top 30 on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex to boost his hopes of a first appearance at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in November. The 34-year-old is a three-time winner on the Challenge Tour, most recently at last year’s Challenge de España as he earned a return to the DP World Tour for the first time since 2019.

Matthieu Pavon

For the third time, the Frenchman is U.S. Open bound after coming through the marathon that is Final Qualifying at Walton Heath. He fired the lowest round of his DP World Tour career earlier this month as an eight-under 63 helped him into an early lead at the Italian Open before falling out of contention over the weekend as he sought a breakthrough win. The 30-year-old lies comfortably inside the top 50 on the Race to Dubai Rankings after three top tens in a four-event stretch earlier this season. He is an ever-present on the DP World Tour since graduating from the Challenge Tour at the end of the 2016 season, when he recorded three runner-up finishes.

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