Golf notebook: Floridian tops Open qualifying in England

Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

--Brooks Koepka of West Palm Beach, Fla., kept his brilliant run going by shooting 65-64--134, 6 under par, to lead international final qualifying for the 142nd Open Championship at Sunningdale Golf Club in Sunningdale, England.
Eight others earned spots in the second major of the year in two weeks at Muirfield, Scotland.
Koepka earned his first berth in the oldest championship in the world one day after winning for the third time on the Challenge Tour, the developmental circuit for the European Tour, in the Scottish Hydro Challenge at Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Club in Aviemore, Scotland.
The victory in Scotland gave him an immediate promotion to the Euro Tour.
"It was a long day," said the 23-year-old Koepka, a former All-American at Florida State who had only two hours of sleep before catching a flight from Scotland to England for the qualifier.
"I was in a lot of heather and I kind of felt like I was in it all day. I didn't hit it that great, but I just tried to relax and hang in there. I putted really well and made some key putts on the second 18.
"It's awesome to play in the Open; it's what you prepare your game to play in. Any major is special, but the Open is up there. Everybody wants to win it."
Oliver Fisher of England was second at 70-65--135, while Alvaro Quiros of Spain shot 70-66--136 to tie for third with Gregory Bourdy of France, who wound up at 68-68--136, and Richard McEvoy of England, who finished at 71-65--136.
Niclas Fasth of Sweden posted a score of 68-69--137 and tied for seventh with Scott Jamieson of Scotland, who came in at 71-66--137.
Estanislao Goya of Argentina shot 68-70--138 and earned the eighth and final spot by surviving a playoff against David Drysdale of Scotland (71-67--138), Ross Fisher of England (71-67--138) and Alejandro Canizares of Spain (67-71--138).
Among the non-qualifiers were Thomas Levet of France at 70-70--140, Paul Casey of England at 70-71--141, Tom Lewis of England at 66-75--141, Michael Campbell of New Zealand at 72-70--142, Paul McGinley of Ireland at 71-72--143, Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain at 72-71--143 and Peter Uihlein of the United States at 73-71--144.
--Frank Stranahan, who was considered the greatest amateur golfer of his era and also won five times on the PGA Tour, died in Hospice of Palm Beach, Fla., at the age of 90.
Stranahan, who was a fitness fanatic long before Gary Player and was nicknamed "The Toledo Strongman," had been a patient in the hospice facility for about a week, said his son, Lance.
"He had been slowing down over the last few weeks," Lance Stranahan said.
Stranahan claimed 51 amateur titles, including the British Amateur in 1948 and 1950 when it was still considered a major championship, and lost to Sam Urzetta on the 39th hole in the final of the 1950 United States Amateur at Minneapolis Golf Club.
In addition, he played for the United States on three victorious Walker Cup teams, captured the World Amateur Championship six times and also claimed six titles in the All-American Amateur.
"Frank was a very close friend and a good guy," Arnold Palmer said when he was told of Stranahan's death. "I enjoyed my relationship with Frank very much, going back to my amateur days when we competed against each other on quite a few occasions.
"He was a great player. I didn't think he got the credit that he deserved for his good golf."
When Stranahan turned pro in 1954, he had already won four times on the PGA Tour, at the 1945 Durham Open, the 1946 Kansas City Invitational Victory Bond Golf Tournament, the 1948 Ohio Open and the 1948 Miami Open.
As a pro, he added the 1955 Eastern Open and the 1958 Los Angeles Open.
During his amateur days, Stranahan finished second to Jimmy Demaret in the 1947 Masters, runner-up to Fred Daly of Ireland in the 1947 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool and second again in the 1953 Open behind Ben Hogan at Carnoustie.
After retiring from golf on 1964, Stranahan became a nationally ranked power-lifter and later competed in more than 100 marathons.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1922, he learned to play the game at the famed Inverness Golf Club, where he was taught by the club pro, Byron Nelson. Stranahan's father, R.H. Stranahan, founded Champion Spark Plug.
"He was kind man," said Dick Torio, owner of Torio's Health Club in Toledo. "He appreciated any athlete who accomplished anything."
Stranahan, who attended Harvard, the University of Miami and the University of Pennsylvania, was proceeded in death by his wife, Ann, and sons Jimmy and Frank Jr.
--The PGA of America's Board of Directors met to discuss the ban of anchored putters by the United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews last week during the PGA Club Professional National Championship at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore.
The USGA and R&A ruled on May 21 that anchored putters will be banned beginning with the 2016 season.
"We discussed Rule 14-1b, which the USGA and R&A recently announced would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, as well as the entire rules-making process in detail," said Ted Bishop, PGA of America president.
"As we have seen over the past few months, the Rules of Golf can affect recreational golf in addition to play at the elite level. The PGA of America will continue to confer with the PGA Tour on the subject of Rule 14-1b, and the PGA of America will reserve any public comments on this matter until after the PGA Tour Policy Board meets on July 1."
The PGA Tour and the PGA of America officials and members have been outspoken in their opposition of the ban, and there has been some speculation that either or both organizations might go their own way on the matter.
--Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, one of the best young women's golfers in the world, withdrew two days before the start of the U.S. Women's Open at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., because of a right shoulder injury.
The 17-year-old Jutanugarn had been hoping the injury, which also kept her out of the Wegman's LPGA Championship a few weeks earlier, would heal in time for her to play in the third women's major of the year.
However, she phoned the United States Golf Association to withdraw from the tournament with enough time that the first alternate, amateur Hannah Suh of Daly City, Calif., could take her place in the field.
Jutanugarn injured the shoulder early in the week of the LPGA Championship when she slipped and fell on her shoulder while clowning around with her sister, Moriya.
Ariya slipped while running down a hill chasing her sister with a bottle of water.
Ariya Jutanugarn, who is staying with friends in Los Angeles, reportedly still has pain in the shoulder when lifting her right arm.
If her shoulder is better, Jutanugarn plans to play in a Monday qualifier for the Marathon Classic, which will be contested July 18-21 at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio.
Jutanugarn, No. 17 in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings, has qualified for the Ricoh Women's British Open the following week on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland.
Even though she is not a member of the LPGA Tour, she has made quite an impact on the circuit this season while getting into tournaments through Monday qualifying and sponsor's exemptions.
Jutanugarn has finished no worse than fourth in five LPGA starts this season and has earned $447,772, which would put her 10th on the LPGA Tour money list if she were a member.
A rookie on the Ladies European Tour, she captured the Lalla Meryem Cup at Golf de l'Ocean in Agadir, Morocco, by three strokes over Beth Allen of Ventura, Calif., in March.
--Casey Martin, the men's coach at the University of Oregon who was born with a debilitating condition in his right leg that makes walking difficult, is battling another golf organization that denied him the use of a golf cart.
Martin, 41, who has blood-circulation difficulties because of Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, won a 2001 Supreme Court decision against the PGA Tour that allowed his use of a cart during tournaments because of his disability.
While watching prospective recruits recently, Martin was told he could not use a cart at a U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier, a United States Golf Association event, at El Camino Country Club in Oceanside, Calif.
"I've never felt more discriminated against or unfairly taken advantage of in my entire life," Martin told Golfweek magazine.
Martin, who contacted the Oregon Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity for legal advice, had emailed tournament chairman Matt Pawlak before the qualifier and made a request for a golf cart, which was granted.
However, when he was observing play on the sixth hole, Pawlak approached him and said that USGA rules prohibited spectators from using golf carts, so Martin relinquished the cart.
"He wasn't happy about it, but he accepted it," said Pawlak, who said he was contacted by the USGA and asked that Martin not use a cart.
Martin said Mike Davis, the USGA's executive director, apologized to him after Martin called to discuss the incident.
A similar incident occurred a week earlier during a U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier at Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell, Ore., where Martin said he was using a cart when told that it conflicted with USGA rules.
Martin gave up the cart and was told to seek a single-rider cart at the clubhouse, but none was available, so he left the course.
Martin qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open at Emerald Valley.
In the USGA's 2013 "Qualifying Manual," a section addresses carts at USGA events: "Golf Carts/Scooters for Spectators -- Golf carts will not be provided to spectators (including club members) at any USGA Qualifying location or the Championship proper, regardless of availability at the site or condition of spectator. The USGA makes scooter transport units available at most Championship sites on a first come, first served basis. Offering to take a 'disabled' person to a couple of selected spots on the course to view play as it comes through that area is acceptable and should be encouraged. No one will be shuttled to view play hole by hole, regardless of their condition or relationship to a player in the event."
In 2001, the U.S. Supreme Court cited the Americans With Disabilities Act in a 7-2 ruling that the PGA Tour allow Martin to ride in a golf cart between shots at PGA Tour events.
Martin played the PGA Tour in 2000 after having qualified in 1999 by placing 14th in earnings on what was then the Nike Tour. Martin returned to the developmental tour for the 2001-03 seasons, then played a reduced schedule from 2004-06.
A native of Eugene, Ore., and member of Stanford's 1994 NCAA championship team, Martin has coached the Oregon men's squad since 2006.

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