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Graeme McDowell pulls out of The Open qualifying after losing clubs

Graeme McDowell has pulled out of a qualifier for The Open Championship after losing his clubs on a flight.

McDowell has been scheduled to compete in Tuesday’s  36-hole Open Championship qualifier at St Annes, with 72 players set to contest the three available spots.

But the 2010 US Open champion’s clubs went missing after he flew in to Manchester following his tied 37th-placed finish at the French Open on Sunday.

He took to Twitter to vent his frustration in the hope they could be returned.  However, late on Monday he said as he could not give 100% without his equipment.

The 38-year-old said he would turn his attention to this weekend's Irish Open. He can still qualify for The Open if he finishes in the top 10 overall at Ballyliffin and in the top three of those not already booked for Carnoustie.

McDowell explained that while he could pick up another set of clubs "off the rack" - as many had suggested - he would not be "firing on all cylinders" and there were six spots up for grabs at the Irish Open and Scottish Open in the next two weeks.

The Portrush man was ranked fourth in the world at the start of 2011, six months after his stunning US Open triumph at Pebble Beach.

But he has dropped to 175th in the world rankings after several lean seasons and is danger of missing the 147th Open Championship to be held on the Angus course from July 19-22.

Air France has been contacted for a response.

There are four Open Championship qualifying events on Tuesday with three places on offer at each venue. Fellow Northern Irishmen Michael Hoey and Reeve Whitson bidding for qualification at Notts Golf Club while Ballymena's Dermot McElroy will play for his place at The Renaissance Club, North Berwick.

Last year, Hoey was forced to withdraw at the halfway stage of the European Tour's Made in Denmark event. After thinking he had missed the cut, he flew from Aalborg to Amsterdam and there discovered that a bogey from James Heath on the 18th hole moved the cut-mark, allowing Hoey through to the weekend. However, his clubs were mislaid and his tournament was over.

He tweeted: "Home after a nightmare 24hrs, left Aalborg for Amsterdam, arrived, watched scores, made cut. KLM lost my clubs, missed flights back. Couldn't get private jet, train, car or any other way back so came home! At least I found my clubs this morning at Schiphol #silverlinings."

Air France and KLM merged in 2004 to form the holding company Air France–KLM.

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