Golf: Qualifying king Parry books US Open spot

John Parry
John Parry
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If only the life of a European Tour player was about contesting qualifying tournaments, Harrogate’s John Parry would be up there with the game’s elite.

For the 28-year-old who has on three occasions successfully negotiated the gruelling six-round marathon of qualifying school, on Monday night booked his place in the US Open for the second time in three years.

Parry shot rounds of 66, 69 at Walton Heath in Surrey to claim one of the 11 spots on offer at Chambers Bay, Washington State, next month in the 115th US Open.

Qualifying it seems, holds no fear for the former Walker Cup player, who is making a strong fist of his third coming as a Tour player in 2015, having lost his playing priviledges last season following a horrendous run of 21 successive missed cuts which lasted six months.

“I’m becoming a qualifying expert,” admitted Parry, who finished sixth at qualifying school in November, a result that kick-started an upsurge in fortunes that sees him sit 87th on the Race to Dubai standings.

“I’d rather not have to do it, but I do seem to be getting used to it.

“I grew up playing courses like Walton Heath though which always helps me.”

Parry came out of the traps firing.

Out with the early starters on Monday, he shot a seven-under par 66 and at one stage topped the leaderboard.

A solid 69 in his afternoon round comfortably sealed his spot in the year’s second major.

“I’m over the moon,” he added.

“It’s nice to get up at 5.45am and get your reward for it.

“I felt like this afternoon that I wasted a few shots. It’s a different format to normal.

“You want to win it or get the best score you can, but you know it’s just about getting over the finish line. It’s like qualifying school.”

Parry, who competes in the Irish Open from tomorrow, plans to draw on his first US Open experience in the Pacific Northwest from June 18-21, having finished 28th at Merion two years ago.

“I loved it at Merion,” said Parry, whose four rounds in Pennsylvannia two years ago netted him a handsome cheque of nearly £40,000. “It was different to anything I’d ever played, and I think it will be the same again at Chambers Bay.

“I’ve done a little bit of research and I know it is a bit linksy. Merion was like a US Open – thick rough, fast greens – but I’ve heard this course could be different.

“I really liked the atmosphere the last time though. I think because I was playing well, I fed off having 10,000 people watching.”

Parry has enjoyed a steady year on Tour so far, registering a sixth-place finish at the Africa Open and a fifth spot at the Mauritius Open earlier this month.

He also has two further top-17 finishes.

Encouragingly he is more than halfway to earning enough to retain his card for next year, but the money aside, qualifying for a second major is comfortably the highlight of his year.

To emphasise Parry’s achievement at Walton Heath, one of those to miss out on a place at the US Open was Padraig Harrington, three times a major winner and victorious on the PGA Tour in Florida just two months ago.