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MARTIN WILL RIDE IN OPEN QUALIFIER

Casey Martin, who won the right to use a golf cart in competition after suing the PGA Tour, will be allowed to use one during qualifying for the U.S. Open, the United States Golf Association said Monday.

The USGA, which was not a party to the recent lawsuit, said it would abide by the spirit of the court decision though it disagrees with the verdict.

Martin, who suffers from a degenerative leg condition that makes walking painful, has filed an entry form to compete in the U.S. Open and is exempt from local qualifying by virtue of his Nike Tour victory earlier this year.

He has elected to compete in 36-hole sectional qualifying on June 8 at Clovernook Country Club in Cincinnati -- one of 12 sectional qualifying sites for this year's U.S. Open.

The 1998 U.S. Open will be played June 18-21 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

The USGA said it will provide Martin with appropriate transportation for all stages of the U.S. Open, including all practice rounds, for which he qualifies.

The transportation will be a single-rider cart.

Martin will be the only player given such an accommodation, the USGA said.

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