U.S. Open 2024: Sergio Garcia loses in playoff to advance; Molinari brothers both qualify

May 21, 2024

Next month’s U.S. Open may look different than it has at any point in the last quarter century. That’s because Sergio Garcia failed to advance for the first time since 1999, which happened to be at Pinehurst, host of this year’s championship.

Garcia, 44, shot an opening 66 at Dallas Athletic Club in one of 13 U.S. Open Final Qualifying events between now and June 3. That put him in prime position to advance late in the second round but he made a double-bogey on the par-5 16th after finding the water. He shot 73, which put him into a seven-man playoff for the final six spots. He made bogey in the playoff and was the lone man out.

However, Garcia is listed as an alternate, so there is still a chance that he could get the nod to play once the dust settles over the next three weeks. He has two second-place finishes this year with LIV Golf and missed the cut at the Masters.

Kevin Streelman, Abraham Ancer, Scott Piercy, Caleb Surratt, Vincent Norrman, Lanto Griffin, Ryan Moore and Cam Champ were among others who did not qualify in Dallas.

Meanwhile, Nico Echavarria, the 2023 Puerto Rico Open winner, was medalist at seven-under total. Francesco Molinari, the 2018 British Open champion, shot 68-70 to advance and finish one shot better than those in the playoff.

While Francesco was in Texas, older brother Edoardo qualified at Walton Heath Golf Club in England. Edoardo shot 67-69 for an eight-under-par total. He was an assistant captain to Luke Donald on last year’s European Ryder Cup team and has already been announced as returning for Donald next year at the Ryder Cup at Bethpage Black. He hasn’t played in a major since the 2021 U.S. Open.

Grant Forrest, Richard Mansell and Brandon Robinson Thompson all tied for the lead in England. Robert Rock, a two-time winner on the DP World Tour who is now 47 and announced his retirement from professional golf two years ago to focus on being a swing instructor for other pros, shot 66 in his second round to take one of the nine spots.

Rock was once ranked as high as 55th in the world and was surprised he played so well.

“I was coming for my last chance really at playing this event,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity just to see where my game was, having not been out here for a couple years. I’ll just come and see where I fit.

He also noted that his back has been ailing him for a while and that he rarely plays more than nine holes at a time.

“I didn’t think I’d make 36,” said Rock, who made 12 birdies on the day. “It’s amazing what a few putts do. It keeps you going, doesn’t it?”

Matteo Manassero was another who advanced out of England. Now 31, the former teen standout from Italy, rebounded with a 65 in his second round Monday. He tied for 13th place at the British Open in 2009 as a 16-year-old, made the cut at the Masters the following year and was ranked as high as 25th in world when he was 20. After years of struggles, Manassero won on the DP World Tour earlier this year, his first victory on that tour in a decade.

Ryo Ishikawa (66-65) and Riki Kawamoto (68-63) shared medalist honors at Hino Golf Club in Shiga Prefecture, Japan. Ishikawa won on the Japan Tour when he was 15 years old, was once ranked as high at 29th in the world and has played in seven U.S. Opens. He tied for 63rd last year at Los Angeles Country Club.