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Mystery virus sidelines Van de Velde from British Open qualifier

LONDON -- Jean Van de Velde seems certain to miss the
British Open's return to Carnoustie -- where he famously squandered
a three-shot lead on the last hole.

The French player, who eventually lost a three-man playoff to
Paul Lawrie at Carnoustie in 1999, has been sidelined by a mystery
virus and forced to pull out of next week's qualifying at
Sunningdale.

Van de Velde's only chance of making the field for the July
19-22 Open is if he enters the Scottish Open the week before and
captures the only spot available from that tournament.

"He has not yet withdrawn from the [Scottish Open], but there
is a scenario where he has to take two or three months away from
the game," Van de Velde's manager, Jamie Cunningham, said
Saturday. "He is massively disappointed to pull out of Monday, but
he has to see a specialist in London the following day and the most
important thing is obviously for him to get healthy again."

Van de Velde has been feeling ill since the Portuguese Open in
early April.