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U.S. Open debut is consolation for Austrian Wiesberger

By Sam Holden

(Reuters) - After an agonizing playoff defeat in the Austrian Open at the weekend, Bernd Wiesberger received an uplifting consolation prize on Monday in the form of a ticket to his first U.S. Open.

The 28-year-old narrowly missed out on a victory on home soil in Atzenbrugg on Sunday when Swede Mikael Lundberg sunk a 40-foot putt to win the European Tour event at the first extra hole.

Wiesberger's performance, however, was enough to lift him into the top 60 of the world rankings and earn a start at the fabled Pinehurst No. 2 course in North Carolina on Thursday, enabling him to become the first Austrian to compete in the U.S. Open.

"I'm just thrilled to be going to Pinehurst," he told the tour website (www.europeantour.com).

"It was very disappointing to miss out on the Austrian Open title over the weekend, especially in front of my home fans, but this goes some way in making me feel a little better.

"I have played in the British Open and the U.S. PGA Championship but this will be my first U.S. Open and it makes me very proud to be the first Austrian to play in such a huge event," said Wiesberger.

"Hopefully I can bring some of the good form I showed last week into this week."

U.S. Open organizers reserved five places for non-exempt players who might break into the top 60 over the weekend. Only Wiesberger and American Kevin Na seized their chance.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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