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Conners moves into last Canadian spot for Olympic return. Dutch are back in the game

PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — Corey Conners found the fairway and the green on the final hole of the U.S. Open, a closing par at Pinehurst No. 2 that landed him in the Olympics for Canada for the second time.

The Official World Golf Ranking published after the U.S. Open was used to determine the 60 players for the men's competition Aug. 1-4 at Le Golf National.

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1 player in the world, will be making his Olympic debut alongside defending gold medalist Xander Schauffele, former U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark and two-time major champion Collin Morikawa.

Each country is allowed two players, with a maximum of four if all are within the top 15.

Conners will join Nick Taylor for Canada, but it came down to the final hole.

Adam Hadwin finished third at the Memorial the week before the U.S. Open to move ahead of Conners for the second spot in the Olympic ranking, but then missed the cut at Pinehurst No. 2. Conners needed to finish alone in 11th to pass Hadwin.

Conners said he did not want to know what he needed.

“I guess it all worked out not knowing,” Conners said on a conference call Monday afternoon. "I felt like it would have been added pressure and another distraction. I had no idea all Sunday what position I was in. I just thought a par would get me a good finish."

He said his caddie told him after he tapped for par that his three-way tie for ninth was going to be enough and Conners said he was relieved.

Jon Rahm makes his debut for Spain. He was the U.S. Open champion when the Olympics were played in Japan in 2021, but had to withdraw with a positive COVID-19 test. He will be among 29 players, assuming they all are certified, making their first Olympic appearance.

Bryson DeChambeau also had to withdraw from the Tokyo Games because of a positive test. Now he is with LIV Golf, which doesn't get world ranking points. DeChambeau tied for sixth in the Masters, was runner-up at the PGA Championship and won his second U.S. Open title at Pinehurst on Sunday. That moved him to No. 10 in the world, good enough only to be the second alternate for the Paris Games.

The 60-man field has six players from LIV Golf — Rahm and David Puig of Spain, Carlos Ortiz and Abraham Ancer of Mexico, Adrian Meronk of Poland and Joaquin Niemann of Chile.

C.T. Pan of Taiwan, who won a seven-man playoff for the bronze medal in Tokyo, is among four players to qualify for every Olympics since golf returned to the program in 2016.

Joost Luiten and Darius Van Driel of the Netherlands are listed on the final list. The National Olympic Committee for the Netherlands did not send Dutch players to Tokyo last time, requiring golfers to be among the top 100 in the world or the top 36 in the Olympic ranking because it wanted athletes with a realistic chance of winning.

Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia wound up winning the silver medal at No. 204 in the world, while Pan was No. 208 when he beat the likes of Rory McIlroy and Morikawa for the bronze.

Luiten, a six-time winner on the European tour at the time, was No. 177 in the world. Dutch Olympic officials had slightly relaxed some standards and met with the Netherlands Golf Federation last week.

Luiten competed in Rio de Janeiro and tied for 27th.

Each country's National Olympic Committee has until June 27 to confirm its players. The Paris Games currently has players from 32 countries or territories.

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AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf