Amateur Champion awarded place in U.S. Open

The winner of the Amateur Championship will join recipients of the Mark H McCormack Medal in receiving a qualifying exemption for the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open under changes announced by the United States Golf Association (USGA).

It means that Australia’s Bryden Macpherson has earned a place in the 2012 U.S. Open as the 2011 Amateur champion. The University of Georgia student defeated Michael Stewart, of Scotland, 3 and 2, in the championship final at Hillside Golf Club in Southport.

Patrick Cantlay, the low amateur at last year’s U.S. Open and a member of the 2011 USA Walker Cup Team, won the McCormack Medal as the No. 1-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) at the close of the 2011 summer competitive season.

Cantlay, from Los Alamitos, California, was the runner-up to Kelly Kraft at the 2011 U.S. Amateur and a semi-finalist while still at high school in 2010.

Both Macpherson and Cantlay are fully exempt for the 2012 U.S. Open, to be played 14-17 June at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, California.

Meanwhile, Lydia Ko, 14, of New Zealand, who became the first female recipient of the Mark H. McCormack Medal in 2011, is fully exempt for the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open.

The R&A’s Chief Executive Peter Dawson said: “There are close and enduring links between The R&A and United States Golf Association in the governance of the sport and as custodians of the amateur game.

“Both organisations have always placed an emphasis on the presence of amateur golfers in the fields for their respective major championships and I am very pleased that this now extends to the inclusion of our Amateur champion in the field for the U.S. Open.”

Ko, who was born in South Korea, recently became the youngest player to win a professional event, capturing the New South Wales Open by four strokes with a 54-hole score of 202.

Ko is fully exempt into the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open, to be played 5-8 July at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin.

All of the winners must remain amateur to retain the exemption.

“Both the British Amateur and the British Ladies Open Amateur championships have long and storied histories with deep connections to the USGA, so it is appropriate that these champions earn a full exemption into the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open championships,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis.

“These exemptions reflect our strong partnership with The R&A and the value we place on amateur golf and our support for the World Amateur Golf Ranking.”