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JUPITER – Marquee names Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff didn’t make it through a 36-hole U.S. Open sectional qualifier Monday at The Club at Admiral’s Cove.
At least Fowler made it to the end – and gave himself a sliver of hope.
Fowler rebounded after a morning 2-over 73 to fire 67 in the afternoon round, but tied for fifth at 2-under 140. The top four finishers advance to next week’s U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, MA.
Fowler birdied the 16th and 17th holes, but lipped out an 8-foot birdie putt at the final hole that would have lifted him into a tie for fourth with Fred Biondi. Still, Fowler won a five-man playoff Tuesday morning to earn first-alternate status.
“It was a strong second 18,” Fowler said. “I was a little shaky this morning. I didn’t get quite enough sleep last night, coming off a three-week stretch (on the PGA Tour) and getting sick last week. But no excuses.”
Wolff didn’t give himself a shot at a comeback. He walked off the course midway through his second round after hitting his drive into the water at the ninth hole of the North Course.
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Officials for the Florida State Golf Association, which runs the qualifier, said Wolff didn’t mention an injury. His scorer said Wolff left after hitting his poor drive.
Wolff was 1-under for the day and three shots out of fourth place when he arrived at the ninth tee. Wolff was runner-up in the 2020 U.S. Open, but has missed six of his last nine cuts on the PGA Tour and is No. 75 in the latest world rankings.
Sean Jacklin (66-71), son of two-time major champion Tony Jacklin, shared medalist honors at 5-under with Ryan Gerard (66-71) of Raleigh, N.C. Jacklin was the last player in the field, getting word he had a spot just 20 minutes before his tee time Monday.
“I heard there was a chance I’d get in, so I drove over Sunday night (from Bradenton) and hit some balls this morning,” Jacklin said. “I feel like I’m a good player, but it’s just hard to get out there. You have to take advantage of your opportunities.”
Keith Greene of Debary, FL., was third at 4-under. Biondi (72-67), a former Port St. Lucie resident and member of the University of Florida team, earned the final spot.
Fowler won his playoff against Steve Marino (69-71) of Tequesta, Tom Lewis (70-70) of England, Matthias Schwab (67-730 of Austria and amateur Brett Roberts (71-69) of Coral Springs.
For most of Monday, the attention remained focused on Fowler, especially after earlier in the day Phil Mickelson confirmed he would be playing in the inaugural LIV Golf International Series event this week near London.
“I feel like it was kind of inevitable in a way,” Fowler said of Mickelson. “I assumed this would happen. It’s no shock to me.”
Nor would it be a surprise if Fowler eventually joined the list of prominent players to join LIV. The five-time PGA Tour winner has one top-10 finish in his last 22 starts and has fallen to 145th in the latest world rankings.
Fowler said at last week’s Memorial Tournament that he would continue to play the PGA Tour and he has no plans to play LIV Golf “right now.” But he has talked to LIV Golf officials and will continue to have discussions.
“I’m still in the same, exact position,” Fowler said Monday. “LIV is interesting. It’s going to be interesting how it plays out.”
Fowler used to be a constant contender in majors. In 2015, he finished in the top five in all four of them, including a runner-up showing at the U.S. Open.
Now, he has a hard time getting into majors. Assuming he misses next week’s U.S. Open, he will have played in only three of the last seven majors.
Chase Koepka of West Palm Beach withdrew before the qualifier. Koepka is committed to play in the inaugural LIV Golf International Series event that starts Thursday near London.
Lee Westwood, who also is playing in this week’s LIV Golf tournament, withdrew from the 36-hole sectional qualifier last week.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Rickie Fowler, Matthew Wolff fall short at U.S. Open qualifier