Warren and Noren head US Open-bound 11

But Montgomerie and Olazabal are staying at home

AP's picture
Alex Perry
Tue, 29 May 2012

Warren and Noren head US Open-bound 11

Marc Warren needed convincing to play in yesterday’s US Open qualifier at Walton Heath - and now the Scot is headed to Olympic Club in two weeks to make his major debut.

Warren opened with a 2-under 70 on the Surrey club’s Old Course before heading over to the shorter New and carding a spectacular 65.

“I wasn't sure whether I was going to play today,” the 31-year-old told Sky Sports after his round. “But the people around me told me to give it a rip and see what happens.”

Warrenwas joined atop the leaderboard on 9-under by Sweden’s Alex Noren, who defends his Welsh Open title this week.

The pair finished two clear ofEngland’s Lee Slattery, Dane Soren Kjeldsen, South African George Coetzee, Finland’s Mikko Ilonen and Frenchman Gregory Bourdy.

A playoff was needed to determine who took the final four places. Italian sensation Matteo Manassero and Englishman Matthew Baldwin prevailed at the first hole, withFrance’s Raphael Jacquelin andIreland’s Peter Lawrie booking their flights at San Francis comoments later – at the expense of Challenge Tour youngster Sihwan Kim.

Missing out were previous and current Ryder Cup captains Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal.

Montgomerie had travelled 900 miles overnight to fetch a putter from his Perthshire home – and it seemed to be doing him well when the Scot opened with a 4-under 68. Last year was the first time since 1989 that Montgomerie hadn’t played in any of the four majors, and a level par 72 in the afternoon means he has missed the first two of 2012.

Olazabal, meanwhile, looked good with an opening 67, before trailing off with a 74 later on.

“It’s just a shame - I played really well this morning and gave myself a chance,” said the Spaniard.

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