Gay eyes US Open after second title in 2009

Brian Gay made sure that his name would be added to the pre-US Open chatter. The American knew he needed something special at the St Jude Classic to book a place at the Bethpage Black tournament this week.

And he delivered in record-breaking style, winning his second PGA Tour title of the season and third of his career.

Gay shot a final round of four-under-par 66 for a wire-to-wire five-stroke victory over David Toms and Bryce Molder.

Gay’s total of 18-under-par 262 at TPC Southwind smashed the tournament record by six strokes and primes him nicely for the US Open, the second major of the season.

Toms closed with 65 and Molder finished with 70 as they shared second place while John Senden, Paul Goydos and Robert Allenby shared fourth on 268, six shots behind the winner.

His other victory this year was at Hilton Head when he triumphed by 10 strokes. Though the margin was smaller over the weekend, it was no less impressive.

Gay had planned to take this week off after he failed to snare a US Open place via qualifying.

However, his victory at the St Jude Classic means he is only one of five golfers going into the US Open with more than one victory this season. The others are Tiger Woods, Geoff Ogilvy, Zach Johnson and Phil Mickelson.

And he admits his travel plans have now gone awry, as he said in an AP story:

“Right now I don’t know if we’re going home first or what we’re going to do, whether we spend tomorrow travelling, going home and repacking. Get to work on Tuesday I guess. I felt I had to go out and play golf. If I won, I’d get the chance to play.”

Mickelson, making his comeback to the pro circuit after his wife Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer, tied for 59th place on 281, along with John Daly, the former double major winner who is returning to the tour after suspension.

Mickelson was not concerned so much about his score as he was with getting back on the fairways after almost a month off.

“I needed to get a little bit of play in, see where my game was at and get back on the golf course in a competitive frame of mind if I was going to have a chance next week. I’m looking forward to the US Open.”

On the LPGA Tour, rookie Anna Nordqvist made her pro breakthrough by winning the McDonald’s Championship at Bulle Rock.

Nordqvist scored a final round of 68 for a total of 15-under 273 and a convincing four-stroke victory over Lindsey Wright.

Shin Jiyai finished third on 278 after her final round of 278, one ahead of Bae Kyeong.

The men’s European Tour takes a break this week as the players prepare for the US Open.

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