David Smail and Tim W' />
The shrinking village that is the modern golf world worked in the favour of two of New Zealand's leading players yesterday.
David Smail and Tim Wilkinson qualified to contest separate majors from long distance, Smail showing his quality in Japan to book a berth at the US Open, and Wilkinson doing likewise in the United States to force his way into the field for the British Open.
World No 85 Smail rocketed clear of the field at a 36-hole sectional qualifier at the Ryugasaki Golf Club to qualify for the US Open at Bethpage in New York starting on June 15.
He topped a 144-strong field at the qualifying event with a two-round total 11-under 133. The top five all qualified. Smail, 39, was five shots clear of second-placed Angelo Que, of the Philippines.
A 17-year professional and veteran on the Japanese Tour, Smail will be making his seventh appearance at a major. He has played five British Opens; his lone previous showing at the US Open was in 2003.
The only other New Zealander in the Bethpage field at this stage is Michael Campbell, who is exempt from qualifying after winning the major in 2005.
Left-hander Wilkinson will contest the British Open in July after qualifying in Texas.
Wilkinson finished in a six-way tie for third in an American qualifying event at the Greenacres Country Club in Plano, placing him among the top eight who advance to the Open at Turnberry, Scotland, on July 16-19.
It means at least four New Zealanders will contest the major tournament, with Campbell, Mark Brown and Josh Geary having already qualified.
Geary advanced through the Australasian qualifying tournament in Melbourne in February.
Wilkinson shot rounds of 65 and 67 for a 10-under 132 yesterday, leaving him three shots behind the winner, American Matt Kuchar.
He posted seven birdies in his first round and five in his second while lapsing with just one bogey in each round.
American Jeff Overton was second on 131 and Wilkinson was tied with Swedes Richard Johnson and Fredrik Jacobson, Scot Martin Laird and Americans Davis Love, James Driscoll and Ryan Moore.
It will be the first major for Wilkinson, 30, who is enjoying a solid second year on the PGA Tour in the US, where he is ranked 119th on the moneylist with earnings of US$300,000 ($485,000).