Fifteen players get British Open exemptions at Western

Updated: July 6, 2003, 9:58 PM ET
Associated Press

LEMONT, Ill. -- Cliff Kresge had a big weekend at the 100th Western Open. He was paired with Tiger Woods for the first time, and played in the final group the last two days.

Jonathan Kaye
Kaye

Rory Sabbatini
Sabbatini

He also got himself a trip to the British Open.

''It's huge for me to get in,'' Kresge said after shooting 71 to finish in a tie for sixth. ''I knew I needed to play well to get in. And, fortunately, I was able to do that.''

In addition to a check for $150,750, Kresge's finish at the Western got him one of the seven coveted exemptions from a special British Open money list. The others who qualified via the special money list were: Jonathan Kaye, Rory Sabbatini, Duffy Waldorf, Joey Sindelar, Joe Durant and J.L. Lewis.

Eight other players qualified through their finishes at the Western Open. They were Dudley Hart, Scott McCarron, Skip Kendall, Ben Curtis, Luke Donald, Jose Coceres, Chris Smith and Tom Byrum.

The British Open is July 14-20 at Royal St. George's in England.

''Absolutely I was thinking about the British Open,'' Kresge said. ''After the first rain delay, I looked at the chart and saw who was in and out. After the second rain delay, I felt pretty good about my chances.''

Players used to have to travel to Europe to for qualifying tournaments, usually held the Monday before the British Open begins. But in an effort to give more Americans the opportunity to play their way in, the Western Open was designated as a British Open qualifier two years ago.

A total of 15 spots are available, with two ways to qualify. Using earnings from The Players Championship and the five most recent tournaments -- the Capital Open, the U.S. Open, the Buick Classic, the St. Jude Classic and the Western -- the top seven who didn't already have exemptions and were in the top 25 on the money list qualified.

The last eight qualifying spots were then given to the top eight Western Open finishers who didn't have exemptions.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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