Fifteen players get British Open exemptions at Western

LEMONT, Ill. -- Cliff Kresge had a big weekend at the 100th
Western Open. He was paired with Tiger Woods for the first time,
and played in the final group the last two days.

He also got himself a trip to the British Open.

''It's huge for me to get in,'' Kresge said after shooting 71 to
finish in a tie for sixth. ''I knew I needed to play well to get
in. And, fortunately, I was able to do that.''

In addition to a check for $150,750, Kresge's finish at the
Western got him one of the seven coveted exemptions from a special
British Open money list. The others who qualified via the special
money list were: Jonathan Kaye, Rory Sabbatini, Duffy Waldorf, Joey Sindelar, Joe Durant and J.L. Lewis.

Eight other players qualified through their finishes at the
Western Open. They were Dudley Hart, Scott McCarron, Skip Kendall,
Ben Curtis, Luke Donald, Jose Coceres, Chris Smith and Tom Byrum.

The British Open is July 14-20 at Royal St. George's in England.

''Absolutely I was thinking about the British Open,'' Kresge
said. ''After the first rain delay, I looked at the chart and saw
who was in and out. After the second rain delay, I felt pretty good
about my chances.''

Players used to have to travel to Europe to for qualifying
tournaments, usually held the Monday before the British Open
begins. But in an effort to give more Americans the opportunity to
play their way in, the Western Open was designated as a British
Open qualifier two years ago.

A total of 15 spots are available, with two ways to qualify.
Using earnings from The Players Championship and the five most
recent tournaments -- the Capital Open, the U.S. Open, the Buick
Classic, the St. Jude Classic and the Western -- the top seven who
didn't already have exemptions and were in the top 25 on the money
list qualified.

The last eight qualifying spots were then given to the top eight
Western Open finishers who didn't have exemptions.