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Patrick Cantlay earns spot at 2012 British Open

UCLA sophomore Patrick Cantlay is going to the British Open under a new qualifying category for golf's oldest championship.

The Royal & Ancient said Wednesday that the winner of the McCormack Medal as the No. 1 player in the world amateur golf ranking at the end of the amateur season earns an automatic spot in the British Open.

That change is effective for 2012, when the Open will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

Cantlay, the low amateur at the U.S. Open and runner-up at the U.S. Amateur, won the McCormack Medal this year as the top-ranked amateur.

He already has earned exemptions to the Masters and the U.S. Open in 2012 for reaching the championship match at the U.S. Amateur.

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