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The USGA announced on Wednesday that an additional 24 golfers, including two-time U.S. Open Champion Ernie Els, have earned full exemptions into the 2012 U.S. Open Championship at The Olympic Club, San Francisco.
The exemptions were handed out to players who were in the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking as of May 21, bringing the total number of exempt players to 77.
Aside from Els - who will make his 20th consecutive U.S. Open appearance in California between June 14-17 - other notables to gain a place through this criteria include Paul Casey, Volvo World Matchplay champion Nicholas Colsaerts and gregarious American Rickie Fowler.
Phoenix Open champion Kyle Stanley is also exempt, as are Japanese teenage sensation Ryo Ishikawa and Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez.
The winner of this week's BMW Championship at Wentworth also earns as exemption, as do to the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking on June 11.
Additional qualifiers will be held at Walton Heath, Surrey on May 28, and at 11 sites throughout America on June 4.
The 24 newly exempt golfers are as follows: Sang-Moon Bae, Thomas Bjorn, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Paul Casey, Nicolas Colsaerts, Ben Crane, Simon Dyson, Ernie Els, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, Rickie Fowler, Anders Hansen, Ryo Ishikawa, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Zach Johnson, Robert Karlsson, K.T. Kim, Martin Laird, Francesco Molinari, Kevin Na, Carl Pettersson, Ian Poulter, Alvaro Quiros, Robert Rock and Kyle Stanley.
Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel win The Masters and PGA Championship respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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