McDowell takes Open spot

By Brian Keogh

Qualifiying specialist Graeme McDowell scorched into the Open at Carnoustie - despite farcical scenes at Sunningdale.

The Ulsterman, 27, added a sensational six under par 64 to his opening 67 to win the International Final Qualifier by two shots.

McDowell grabbed one of 16 spots at Carnoustie in two week's time with his fourth successive major qualifying success in a row.

After firing an eagle and six birdies on the New Course after lunch, McDowell beamed: "I drove the ball well, gave myself a ton of chances and also putted very well."

Last year he came through qualifiers for the Open and the US Open and he completed the double again yesterday, less than a month after pre-qualifying for the US Open at Oakmont.

In the end he finished two strokes clear of Swede Peter Hanson, Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez and English ace Nick Dougherty.

But the day was marred by controversy over an "unplayable" pin position which forced eight players to replay the 156-yard, fourth hole.
The qualifier was halted soon after it had begun so that the position could be changed.

Before the stoppage Ricardo Gonzalez five-putted, Edoardo Molinari and Alexander Noren four-putted and Brett Rumford three-putted after hitting his tee shot to the sloping green to two feet. His second putt was from 35 feet.

Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed parred it the first time but four-putted for a double bogey five after being forced to play to the new pin position.

That turned a four under par 66 into a 68 but he added a 68 in the afternoon to grab his spot in the Open with nothing to spare.

Tournament chairman Martin Kippax accepted total blame for the original pin placing and apologised to the players affected.

Kippax said: "I admit it was a mistake and the responsibility lies on me and me only. One option was to start again completely, but we are on a tight schedule with 36 holes in one day."