Love qualifies for British Open

Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III was among eight players who
qualified for the British Open on Monday, giving him a spot in all
four majors for the first time since 2007.

Brian Davis of England was the medalist at Gleneagles Country
Club with a 6-under 64, while Chad Campbell finished one shot
behind. The 36-hole qualifier was reduced to 18 holes because of
heavy rain that caused a six-hour delay.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia, 31, withdrew because of an infected
fingernail on his left hand that made it difficult for him to grip
the club. Garcia has played in every British Open since he was an
amateur at Royal Birkdale in 1998.

The British Open will be played July 15-17 at Royal St.
George’s.

Love, who tied for fourth when the British Open was held at
Royal St. George’s in 2003, was in the group of qualifiers at 66
that included Nathan Green, Spencer Levin, Chris Tidland and Bob
Estes.

Jerry Kelly, who had a 67, earned the last spot in a six-for-one
playoff, beating out Justin Hicks. It at least will give Kelly a
shot at redemption at Royal St. George’s, where in 2003 he made an
11 on the opening hole with four shots that traveled about 15 feet
in the thick rough. Kelly wound up with an 86 and had to withdraw
with a wrist injury.

Davis had a 68-68 weekend at Royal St. George’s in 2003 and tied
for sixth, his best finish in a British Open. In the International
Final Qualifying event Monday, he had six birdies in a bogey-free
round that left little doubt of his return to England.

”I had a really good ball-striking round today and any mishit
shot I had went straight, so you know you’re playing good when that
happens,” Davis said.

Brandt Snedeker was among those who failed to qualify in the
playoff. He is No. 47 in the world, with the top 50 after this
week’s tournaments getting into the championship.

Others who failed to qualify included Australian Stuart Appleby,
Brian Gay, Paul Goydos and Mike Weir.

PGA Tour players still can get into the British Open over the
next few months through a special money list that includes The
Players Championship and the five consecutive tournaments through
the AT&T National; and for being the highest finisher among the
top 10 not already exempt in the AT&T National and the John
Deere Classic.

That includes Garcia, who has not missed a major dating to the
1999 U.S. Open and now risks missing two in a row. Garcia, who is
No. 73 in the world, already has said he will only play the U.S.
Open if he gets into the top 50 by June 13.

”I couldn’t grip the club properly today and it prevented me
from playing when I wanted it most,” Garcia said. ”It’s a
setback, but I’m happy with the direction my game is headed and
I’ll be looking to make up for it the rest of the season. I always
look forward to The Open Championship, and to have to withdraw
today is a huge disappointment.

”Having a problem with your finger is obviously a big issue for
a golfer.”