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Nine Golfers Punch Their Tickets to the 124th U.S. Open from Walton Heath

Grant Forrest, Richard Mansell, and Brandon Robinson-Thompson.

Ah, Walton Heath—where the heather is lush, the bunkers are bottomless, and the pressure? It’s as thick as the fog that rolls in over the Surrey hills.

This week, it wasn’t just the sheep that were feeling a bit nervous as nine players earned their way into the 124th U.S. Open.

Let’s start with the medallists—Grant Forrest, Richard Mansell, and Brandon Robinson-Thompson.

These lads shared top honours, each posting a blistering ten under par after two gruelling rounds on both the Old and New Courses.

It’s the kind of performance that makes you wonder if they’ve been sneaking in extra putting practice under the moonlight.

A Tale of Three Medallists

First up, Brandon Robinson-Thompson. The name might be a mouthful, but his game was nothing short of stellar.

Brandon Robinson-Thompson

This chap, who now calls the U.S. home and used to call South Carolina his stomping grounds, fired a first-round 68 and followed it up with a dazzling six-under 66.

It seems like just yesterday he was making his Major debut at Hoylake, and now he’s bound for Pinehurst.

If he keeps this up, they’ll be naming pubs after him on both sides of the Atlantic.

Richard Mansell, no stranger to U.S. Open nerves after his debut in 2022, matched Robinson-Thompson’s score with his own ten-under par.

Richard Mansell

It’s a testament to his grit and determination—qualities you’d expect from a lad who looks like he could wrestle a bear and still sink a 30-footer.

And let’s not forget Scotland’s Grant Forrest. This will be his first U.S. Open, and if his play at Walton Heath is any indication, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Grant Forrest

Forrest is the kind of player who makes you believe in fairy tales, or at least in the kind of fairy tales that come with a hefty paycheck and a shiny trophy.

The Comeback Kid

Robert Rock. If that name doesn’t conjure up images of a swashbuckling hero, his performance surely does.

Rock stepped back from the DP World Tour after the 2022 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, and what a return it was—rounds of 69 and 66 put him at nine under par. It’s the kind of comeback that would make Lazarus jealous.

Joining him at nine under was Sam Bairstow, who held his nerve to sink a seven-footer for par on the 36th hole, signing off with rounds of 68-67.

Bairstow avoided a playoff with that clutch putt, and probably aged a few years in the process.

The Nervous Wait

Four more golfers had to endure the torturous wait at eight under par: Matteo Manassero and Edoardo Molinari from Italy, Northern Ireland’s Tom McKibbin, and Australian Jason Scrivener.

It’s the kind of wait that makes you wish for a stiff drink and a comfy chair, but they all held on to punch their tickets to Pinehurst.

Playoff Drama

And what’s a qualifier without a bit of playoff drama? Five players tied at seven under par fought for the two alternate spots.

After four excruciating extra holes, Casey Jarvis and Andrea Pavan emerged victorious.

They didn’t get the golden ticket, but being an alternate at the U.S. Open isn’t exactly a bad consolation prize.

The Road to Pinehurst

So there you have it, folks. Nine golfers have secured their spots in one of golf’s greatest arenas, ready to take on the challenge of Pinehurst.

From the first-time thrill-seekers like Forrest to seasoned campaigners like Mansell and the comeback king Rock, this year’s U.S. Open is shaping up to be a blockbuster.

Get your popcorn ready; it’s going to be a wild ride.