Faxon's journey pays off with place at St Andrews

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The Independent Online

Wait a minute - "American Tour professional" and "local final qualifying", that doesn't seem right, does it? Aren't they all supposed to be like Billy Mayfair, the Arizona player who last week withdrew from the year's third major with the rather transparent excuse of "scheduling reasons"?

Well, not Faxon, the seven-time Tour winner, who hauled his multimillion, 43-year-old frame over the Channel at his own expense to take his chance alongside 395 other hopefuls chasing 12 places. The Ryder Cup player had to sweat as well, the 69 he added yesterday to a 64 being only just enough to scrape in with Oscar Floren and Lars Brovold. "You're not going to win an Open staying at home," he said, explaining why he was here.

Floren and Brovold were more representative of the other nine qualifiers. The former is a Swedish amateur, while the latter at least has European Tour membership, but has earned exactly the same amount as his fellow unknown Scandinavian this year - nothing - having missed 16 cuts on the bounce.

It was with something of a gasp, therefore, that the compilers were dusting down the record books here to append the name of the unlikely 26-year-old Norwegian. To the turn in a one over par 37, the 26-year-old fired an astonishing inward half of 27 - eight under and the lowest nine-hole total in Open history.

* Michelle Wie lost the chance to qualify for The Open when she missed the cut by two strokes in the John Deere Classic. The highest finisher without an Open place will play at St Andrews next week.