Harrington faces strong field

Padraig Harrington will compete against a strong field when the US Open qualifying tournament starts at Walton Heath on Monday.

Harrington has taken part in each US Open since 2008, but after dropping to 209th on the world rankings, the Irishman has to qualify for this year’s event after his exemption from winning the 2008 US PGA Championship expired.

The two-time Open champion played two rounds at Walton Heath before the start of this week’s the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and plans on visiting the Surrey course again before the start of Monday’s tournament.

More than 100 players are expected to try their hand at qualifying for next month’s tournament at Pinehurst at the 36-hole event played on the Old and New courses.

Harrington will face some stiff competition for the qualifying positions – between nine and 12 players will be successful – with 2013 BMW Championship-winner Matteo Manassero, ex-Ryder Cup players David Howell, Ross Fisher and Edoardo Molinari, as well as former Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal all in the field as well.