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U.S. Open at Pinehurst the last chance for men’s golfers to clinch Paris Olympic spots

PINEHURST, N.C. — The U.S. Open is also a scramble for the last Olympic men’s golf spots in Paris.

After Sunday’s final round, the 60-player Olympic men’s field will be determined based on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). The women’s field will be drawn from the Rolex Rankings after the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week.

A nation can qualify up to four golfers per gender if they are all ranked in the top 15 in the world. A nation can qualify up to two golfers if any are ranked outside the top 15.

The current Olympic men’s golf qualifying rankings are here.

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler mathematically clinched an Olympic spot more than two months ago, according to the OWGR communications office.

World No. 2 Xander Schauffele, the Tokyo Olympic gold medalist, recently became the second American to clinch an Olympic spot, according to the OWGR.

World No. 4 Wyndham Clark and world No. 7 Collin Morikawa are currently in qualifying position for the last two U.S. spots but could be passed at the U.S. Open.

Several Americans behind them, led by No. 9 Patrick Cantlay, No. 10 Max Homa, No. 11 Sahith Theegala and No. 12 Brian Harman, could move up.

Only Cantlay can move into an Olympic spot with anything other than a U.S. Open win, though. He needs to finish at least tied for second even if Morikawa misses the cut.

Morikawa, who was part of the seven-man playoff for bronze at the Tokyo Games, moved into Olympic qualifying position over the last month.

He finished tied for fourth at the PGA Championship, solo fourth at the Charles Schwab Challenge and was runner-up to Scheffler at the Memorial.

“There’s a lot of scenarios, I think, with how many points are available this week,” Morikawa said Tuesday. “Obviously the recent play has helped, and that (the Olympics) is obviously a goal.”

Morikawa added that he’ll get grief from friends and fellow former Cal athletes and Tokyo Olympians Johnny Hooper (water polo) and Ryan Murphy (swimming) if he doesn’t make it to Paris.

Cantlay was the No. 2 American in the world rankings at the end of 2023 and was still in Olympic qualifying position until two weeks ago. Morikawa passed him after the Canadian Open and opened a significant gap with his Memorial finish — 5.4544 average points to 4.3969 average points.

“I really haven’t been keeping track,” Cantlay said Tuesday of the standings. “I’ve been focusing week to week and let the results take care of themselves.”

When the Tokyo Olympic golf field was determined, Cantlay was ranked seventh in the world, but sixth among Americans. So he missed the cut.

A spot opened up in Tokyo after it was announced four days before the opening round that Bryson DeChambeau withdrew due to testing positive for COVID-19. Patrick Reed, who was ranked two spots behind Cantlay, ultimate took the spot.

"(Tokyo) would have been a tight turnaround,” Cantlay said. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get there in time with flights and everything.”

Homa finished 2023 as the No. 4 American in the world rankings. So far this year, he has fluctuated with Cantlay, Harman and Morikawa on the Olympic bubble.

He is another .371 of a point behind Cantlay in the current world rankings.

“It’s actually uncomplicated. I just have to win (the U.S. Open),” Homa said. “I was (in a tight race) for a while, and then the last two weeks felt kind of like a moot point.”

Canada is another nation with Olympic qualifying stakes at the U.S. Open.

Last week, Adam Hadwin placed third at the Memorial to jump 24 spots in the world rankings and from third to second in the race for Canada’s two projected Olympic spots.

Nick Taylor is the top Canadian at No. 32 in the world, followed by Hadwin (35) and Corey Conners (46).

South Korea has Tom Kim at No. 22, Ben An at No. 23 and Sungjae Im at No. 30 as their current top three with two projected Olympic spots available.

Hataoka was bumped by Ayaka Furue for Japan’s second spot, with two qualifying events remaining.