Queensland’s Scott Hend and Kiwi Ryan Fox have been given an unexpected boost ahead of the start of the European Tour’s six-week UK swing after being granted exemptions to play in the US Open at Winged Foot in September.
Hend and Fox are two of a seven-strong Australasian contingent who have entered the European Tour’s ‘bubble’ for this week’s Betfred British Masters with the majority playing their first tournament in more than four months.
Those who follow Hend on social media will know it has been an eventful few months managing the challenge of COVID-19-induced lockdowns while Fox was holed up in New Zealand, social distancing on the back of a boat his preferred way to fill in the days as he awaited professional golf’s return.
So cool to get the email and the confirmation. Thanks @asiantourgolf for the opportunity. Going to be fantastic. @privateestatefx @RaimondiGolf @EuropeanTour @PGAofAustralia @GolfAust @USGA @WingedFoot_GC pic.twitter.com/TIq8Djp3c6— Scott Hend (@hendygolf) July 16, 2020
But neither Hend nor Fox had to hit a shot in anger to earn a US Open call-up with Hend’s runner-up finish on the 2019 Asian Tour Order of Merit and Fox’s ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit win last year securing their spots in a year when normal US Open qualifiers are not possible.
And there are more spots up for grabs for those playing the European Tour’s UK swing.
The USGA has confirmed that the top 10 aggregate points earners in a mini Order of Merit and who are otherwise not exempt at the conclusion of the fifth event of the UK stretch – the Wales Open at Celtic Manor – will be exempt for the rescheduled US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club on September 17-20.
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Been a bit quiet on here lately but back into the swing of things now. About to board a flight back to the UK to restart my @europeantour season. Been working hard the last couple of months and looking forward to some competitive golf again. Enjoyed being able to spent some time at home with friends and family and I Did manage to sneak a bit of fishing in too #foxtracker #golf #backtowork
It’s an additional incentive for the likes of 2020 Vic Open champion Min Woo Lee, West Australian Jason Scrivener, Maverick Antcliff and Jake McLeod who have all taken up the opportunity to resume their seasons in the UK.
Other Aussies to have secured their place in the US Open field where they will attempt to emulate Geoff Ogilvy’s Winged Foot triumph of 14 years ago are Adam Scott (top 10 2019 US Open), Lukas Michel (winner of 2019 US Mid-Amateur), Jason Day (winner of 2015 US PGA Championship), Marc Leishman (qualifiers for 2019 Tour Championship), Cameron Smith (top 70 in Official World Golf Ranking as at March 15) and Lucas Herbert (top 70 in Official World Golf Ranking as at March 15).
With the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational and three majors on the horizon, the PGA TOUR moves to Minnesota this week for the second hosting of the 3M Open with six Aussie and two Kiwis taking part while the Korn Ferry Tour is in Missouri for the Price Cutter Charity Championship.
Round 1 tee times AEST
Betfred British Masters
Close House Golf Club, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England
4pm Michael Campbell, Justin Walters, Benjamin Poke
5.10pm Scott Hend, Jamie Donaldson, Ashley Chesters
5.50pm Min Woo Lee, Pablo Larrazabal, Andy Sullivan
6.40pm Maverick Antcliff, Rikard Karlberg, Aaron Cockerill
9.50pm Jason Scrivener, David Drysdale, Rasmus Hojgaard
10.20pm Ryan Fox, Thomas Detry, Matthew Southgate
11.30pm Jake McLeod, Darius van Driel, Clément Sordet
Defending champion: Marcus Kinhult
Past Australasian winners: Greg Turner (1997), Robert Allenby (1996), Greg Norman (1981 and 1982), Graham Marsh (1979), Bob Charles (1972)
Top Aussie prediction: Jason Scrivener
TV schedule: Live 9pm-11pm, 12am-3am Wednesday and Thursday; 10.30pm-3am Friday; 10pm-2.30am Saturday on Fox Sports 503.
TPC Twin Cities, Blaine, Minnesota
10.10pm* Cameron Davis, Chris Stroud, Chase Seiffert
10.50pm Cameron Percy, Scott Stallings, Brendon de Jonge
11.20pm John Senden, Nick Watney, Rafa Cabrera Bello
11.30pm Rhein Gibson, Peter Uihlein, Peter Kuest
3.30am* Greg Chalmers, Patton Kizzire, Austin Cook
4.20am Aaron Baddeley, Chris Kirk, Parker McLachlin
4.30am Tim Wilkinson, JJ Spaun, Wyndham Clark
4.30am* Danny Lee, Johnson Wagner, Robby Shelton
Defending champion: Matthew Wolff
Top Aussie prediction: Aaron Baddeley
TV schedule: Live 4.30am-8.30am Friday and Saturday; 3am-9am Sunday; 3am-8am Monday.
Korn Ferry Tour
Price Cutter Charity Championship
Highland Springs Country Club, Springfield, Missouri
10.10pm* Steven Alker, Adam Svensson, George Cunningham
10.52pm* Mark Hensby, Eric Axley, Max McGreevy
3.51am Jamie Arnold, Billy Kennerly, Joshua Creel
4.02am Steven Bowditch, Ben Silverman, Mark Blakefield
4.33am* Nick Voke, David Skinns, Shane Smith
4.44am* Harrison Endycott, Zach Zaback, Trevor Sluman
5.15am Brett Drewitt, Daniel Sutton, George Kneiser
Defending champion: Harry Higgs
Past Australian winners: Anthony Painter (1998), Cameron Percy (2014)
Top Aussie prediction: Jamie Arnold