Last British Open spots earned; Campbell out

Michael Campbell during qualifying for the British Open Championship at Kingsbarns Golf Club on June 29.

Michael Campbell during qualifying for the British Open Championship at Kingsbarns Golf Club on June 29.

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The 2005 U.S. Open must feel like a lifetime away for New Zealand’s Michael Campbell. His career plumbed new depths Tuesday when he failed to qualify for the Open Championship.

Campbell returned scores of 72 and 77 at Kingsbarns in 36 holes of Local Final Qualifying to miss out on the Open Championship, to be played July 15-18 at St. Andrews, for the first time since 1998. Campbell was joint 36th in the chase for the three spots on offer. That was nine shots from a playoff for two spots after former Irish GB&I Walker Cup player Colm Moriarty led the field with rounds of 67 and 70.

England’s Tom Whitehouse got the second spot when he was the first player to emerge from a four-man playoff. Amateur Jamie Abbott got the remaining spot at the expense of British Amateur runner-up James Byrne. Byrne, a rising senior at Arizona State, looked home and dry when he opened with an 8-under 64 in the morning. However, a 76 in the afternoon ultimately sealed his fate.

It’s been just five years since Campbell won the U.S. Open at Pinehurst to become the second Kiwi winner of a major, after Bob Charles’ 1963 Open Championship victory.

Instead of that win being a steppingstone to more major success, the intervening five years have brought nothing but disappointment to Campbell, 41.

Campbell’s slide down the world pecking order has been dramatic. He was second on the European money list in 2005 thanks to his U.S. Open victory and title in the HSBC World Match Play Championship.

He finished 31st, 55th and 69th, respectively, on the money list in the next three years before a dramatic fall. He was 249th last year, when he made just six cuts in 22 starts.

He hasn’t made any progress this season. Campbell has yet to make a cut in nine tournaments. His stroke average is 78 through 18 rounds of golf.

Campbell finished third in the 1995 Open Championship at St. Andrews and fifth over the Old Course in 2005. The fact he failed to gain a spot against amateurs, club pros and mini-tour pros underscores how far he has fallen.

England’s Laurie Canter led the field at Fairmont St. Andrews. The reigning South African Amateur champion had rounds of 69-67 for an 8-under-par total. England’s Zane Scotland took the second spot after scores of 66 and 71, while back-to back 69s were good enough for former Georgia State player Mark Haastrup of Denmark.

English players took the three spots on offer at Ladybank. Amateur Tyrrell Hatton and European Tour pro Philip Archer shared the lead at 6 under, while Simon Edwards survived a four-man playoff for the remaining spot.

England also dominated at Scotscraig. Paul Streeter led the way with a 5-under-par total to take the first spot. The remaining two spots went to Gary Clark and former Georgia State player Steve Tiley.

Campbell wasn’t the only notable to miss out. European Tour players Barry Lane, Andrew Oldcorn, Peter Fowler, Joakim Haeggman, Lee Slattery, David Carter, Iain Pyman, Callum Macaulay, Jamie Elson, Barry Hume and Jarmo Sandelin also failed to qualify.

Scott Dunlap made the trip from the U.S. to try to qualify but failed at Fairmont St. Andrews with rounds of 72 and 71 to miss by five shots.

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