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Olesen completes dream 24 hours as Johnston leads U.S. Open Qualifiers

June 04, 2018

Thorbjørn Olesen completed a dream 24 hours as the Dane booked his place in next week’s U.S. Open Championship at the Sectional Qualifier in Walton Heath Golf Club, the day after becoming a Rolex Series champion with the biggest victory of his career at the Italian Open.

“I feel tired but relieved. I played nicely actually, just made a silly mistake there at 17 for a double and all of a sudden there was a bit of pressure but I’m really happy to have made it."

Olesen completes dream 24 hours as Johnston leads U.S. Open Qualifiers, © Getty Images

“It’s probably the toughest Major there is on the courses they play on. They set it up really tough so it will be interesting. I’m looking forward to getting back and playing a U.S Open."

“From last week I have a lot of confidence and belief in myself now so I have to keep working hard and hopefully be ready for the U.S Open. I have heard lots of good things about Shinnecock Hills so I’m really looking forward to seeing it.”

It was a typically dramatic day at Walton Heath Golf Club - which will host the British Masters supported by Sky Sports later this year - as 107 players battled it out over 36 holes for just 14 spots in the year’s second Major Championship at Shinnecock Hills in New York.

Fan favourite Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston was among the four British players who took the first four spots, the Englishman making it three consecutive successful qualifications through this venue after finishing top of the leaderboard on ten under par alongside countryman James Morrison. Playing partners Matt Southgate of England and Richie Ramsay of Scotland shared third spot on nine under.

“It’s a tough day, after coming in late from Italy last night. I got in late and didn’t much sleep, and then two rounds today. It’s tough but it’s been a good day," said Johnston.

“It is difficult, but you have to just get out there and play and get yourself around the fact that you’re not going to get much sleep. That’s the kind of mindset you’ve got to get into."

“I played lovely early on and then I started nicely in my second round too, but then I scrambled hard on the back nine coming in, but I’ve done enough so it’s good."

“The last event I played in New York area was the US PGA Championship at Baltusrol and that was wild! So I’m expecting it’s going to be loud and it’ll be good fun. I haven’t played there before but I’ve heard some really good things about it so I’m really looking forward to playing there.”

Two-time European Tour winner Matt Wallace and 2016 Amateur Champion Scott Gregory were among the others to qualify while Olesen shared 12th place with Norwegian amateur Kristoffer Reitan on six under.

“I’m pretty happy. I knew playing the New Course this morning that I had to get off to a quick start, try and place a number. I got it around in five under and to be honest it could have been quite a few better as well," said Gregory.

“I just took it out this afternoon, tried to keep the momentum going but I think I was two over through five, so I dropped a few early. But I picked myself back up and got it back to three under this afternoon so I’m really happy."

“I know what it’s like to play the US Open from last year and it was one of my big goals this year, to get back there, so it would be lovely to do that."

“It’s tough out there. You’ve got the best players in the world here – some of the guys here every year, I can’t believe some of the names here. You just assume that they’re going to be exempt. So it shows how hard it is to get into the Majors and it makes you appreciate it when you get there."

“I haven’t been playing very well this year. I’ve missed three cuts out of four on the Challenge Tour and I’ve probably been hitting too many balls so I had some treatment this week. To be honest, last night I could barely move it so I wasn’t feeling too great about it. I said to my girlfriend this morning that I was a bit concerned that I might be able to hit the golf ball, but I think maybe adrenaline kicked in and it might hurt in a few hours but at the moment it feels pretty good.”

Wallace and Gregory both avoided the eight-man play-off – with one of the nine players tied for 13th having missed the play-off after departing the venue early. The action went late into the evening, and the man to emerge victorious by claiming the one and only spot available was Englishman Paul Waring, who overcame compatriot Ryan Evans after it came down to just two players on the fourth extra hole.



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