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Van de Velde one of 12 players to qualify for British Open

A birdie on the final hole Tuesday earned France's Jean Van de Velde a spot in next week's British Open at Royal Birkdale in England.

Van de Velde, who infamously lost the 1999 Open at Carnoustie when he blew a three-shot final-hole lead and then fell in a playoff, was one of 12 players to qualify at three local venues.

His 36-hole total of 143, 1-under at Hillside -- which adjoins Royal Birkdale -- got him the last spot at his venue. Other qualifiers were held at nearby Southport & Ainsdale and West Lancashire on Monday and Tuesday.

Van de Velde, 42, missed last year's Open because of health issues.

"The Open means a lot to me as there is two tournaments I want to play in and try to play good in and they are the French Open and the Open Championship," said Van de Velde, who has not been part of the Open field since 2005. "No matter what, I am going to always have special souvenirs of the Open so playing in the Open is always going to be something special for me.

"So after doing good here at Hillside, I'm now delighted to be able to step on the tee next week at Royal Birkdale and maybe this is my second chance to win the Open," he said.

Ireland's Philip Walton, a European Ryder Cup hero in 1995, also qualified for the Open, earning a spot for the first time in 10 years. Walton, 46, led qualifiers by shooting 142 at West Lancashire.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.