Ireland’s Shane Lowry topped the list of U.S. Open qualifiers a day after missing out by a shot in qualifying automatically for next month’s championship.
Lowry shot rounds of a three under par 69 at Walton Heath’s New Course on Monday and then posted a five under par 67 on Old Course for an eight under par total to finish a stroke clear among the 14 leading qualifiers in a starting field of 105 players.
It is the second time in five attempts the 26-year old Dubliner has been successful at Walton Heath in qualifying for a U.S. Open.
The double European Tour winner had secured his biggest pay check in finishing runner-up to good friend Rory McIlroy in Sunday’s concluding BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth where a win would have seen Lowry having to avoid teeing up at Walton Heath.
However Lowry continued his good form at Walton Heath despite the wet, cold and miserable conditions.
“I played okay and putted really, really well holing a lot of six to eight footers for par,” he said.
“But after finishing so close to victory yesterday I just carried a lot of momentum from Wentworth into today to get the job done.
“And while I was a little disappointed not to win the BMW PGA at least now I’ve done it the hard way so that I can join Rory at Pinehurst.”
Lowry’s second place finish in the BMW PGA Championship saw him jump 68 spot to World No. 74 and the likelihood of adding also August’s PGA Championship to his schedule.
But while Lowry won through to the U.S. Open fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington will now miss a first U.S. Open in 15 years after falling six shots shy of qualifying with rounds of 75 and 71.
Last month, Harrington also failed to qualify for the Masters for a first occasion in 14 years.
“The damage was done in the morning with that 75 and just made a few mistakes in not knowing the golf course and I was never comfortable with the pace of the greens, as there was a number of three-putts thrown in there,” he said.
Harrington will now take a week’s break before returning to the PGA Tour for the June 5th commencing FedEx St.Jude Classic in Memphis.