George makes it seven SA players in US Open

George Coetzee could have chanced his arm at getting in to the US Open based on his Official World Golf Ranking on June 11, but he decided to lock down a spot by playing in the European sectional qualifier.

And playing in the event on Monday at the par-72 Walton Heath Golf Course, Coetzee became the seventh South African in to the field as Alexander Noren and Marc Warren led a contingent of 11 players into the second major of the year.

The other South Africans in are Tim Clark, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

There are two more opportunities for players to make it into the June 14–17 event at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California: On June 4, there is the US sectional qualifier, and then, a week later on June 11, those players not in the field already and in the top 60 in the world will get added to the field.

And that’s where Branden Grace should make it to San Francisco: He is currently ranked 55th, and he should maintain a position inside the top 60 for the next two weeks and get his shot at the US Open.

He can make doubly sure of things by having a good week at the Memorial this week, where a strong field ensures that plenty of world ranking points are up for grabs.

Coetzee could have relied on a very high finish in this week’s ISPS Handa Wales Open on the European Tour to lift him from his current 69th on the world rankings to inside that top 60, but that would have been leaving too much to chance – and the good form of others.

While Coetzee was cementing his place, Jbe’ Kruger was one of the unlucky ones, just missing out, together with the likes of Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal.

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