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U.S. Open alternates have good shot at playing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Alternates from U.S. Open sectional qualifiers were never more important as they were this year.

The USGA held back six spots from the 10 sectional qualifiers to make sure it could accommodate anyone who got into the top 60 in the world ranking after this week. It was a safe move because the U.S. Open field is capped at 156 players.

But there won’t be a lot of movement this year.

Chris Wood is at No. 60 in the world, and he would stay there provided Scott Piercy doesn’t finish among the top 20 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. So that’s one spot, maybe. But with Soren Kjeldsen withdrawing from the St. Jude Classic, only one other person has a mathematical chance to get into the top 60 in the world, and he would have to win the St. Jude Classic. That applies to only about five players, such as Ian Poulter and Hudson Swafford.

So at least four spots will be going to alternates, and that doesn’t even include Phil Mickelson, who plans to withdraw because of his daughter’s high school graduation.

It’s difficult to miss U.S. Open qualifying by one spot, but the…

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