Hebert, Johnston & Bertasio qualify for the 148th Open

Trio claimed their placesafter qualifying at the ASI Scottish Open.

Benjamin Hebert, Andrew Johnston and Nino Bertasio claimed their places in The 148th Open at Royal Portrush after qualifying at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

Trio qualify for Open
Andrew Johnston qualified for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush. Photo credit: The R&A/Getty Images.

Played at The Renaissance Club for the first time, the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open was the 12th event in The Open Qualifying Series, which gives players around the world opportunities to qualify for golf’s original championship at leading professional Tour events.

Three places were available to the leading players who finished in the top ten and ties and who were not already exempt.

In glorious conditions for scoring over the East Lothian links, Frenchman Hebert was denied a first European Tour title after he lost out in a play-off at the third extra hole to Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger in the glorious late sunshine.

“I’m very happy as next week will be my first Major Championship as a professional,” said Hebert. It was a goal for me actually this season to play in a Major. I played in The Open in 2008 but I was an amateur. It was a long time ago and it was very tough in the weather and I missed the cut.

“I played Royal Portrush in the 2012 Irish Open and it is a tough course. A lot will depend on the weather conditions next week. I’m playing really good and hitting the ball quite well so we will see how I can do. It is a different style of golf. I like the ocean, actually, as I surf a little bit and I’m happy on links golf courses.”

Trio qualify for Open
Benjamin Hebert qualified for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush. Photo credit: The R&A/Getty Images.

The pair finished on a 22-under-par total of 262 after a brilliant closing nine-under-par round of 62 from Hebert, while overnight leader Wiesberger, who qualified for The Open at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open last weekend, shot a 69.

It was in-form Wiesberger who claimed his sixth European Tour victory after rolling in a four-feet putt on the third playing of the 18th in extra time but the consolation for Hebert was a place at Royal Portrush.

The 32-year-old secured only his second appearance at The Open having missed the cut at Royal Birkdale as an amateur in 2008 when he was the reigning European Amateur Champion.

Johnston and Bertasio finished in a share of fourth place on 19-under-par 265 with Henrik Stenson, Andrew Putnam and Andrea Pavan, all of whom had already qualified for Royal Portrush.

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While the leaders were only teeing off for their final round, Johnston also signed for a superb final round 62 that featured 10 birdies.

The 30-year-old Englishman, who won the Scottish Hydro Challenge in 2014, is now looking forward to a fourth Open appearance after finishing eighth at Royal Troon in 2016.

“It’s a great feeling to qualify for The Open as I love to be playing in the big events. It’s such a special championship. I have great memories from it as well so I can’t wait to be playing in it again and have a crack at it next week.

“I know I can play well on links courses and in The Open. We play so many links venues as junior golfers so it is always nice to come back and play some links as a professional. It is going to be a fantastic week, as The Open always is, and being at Portrush it is going to be special.

“Today was one of those good days when the putts dropped. I was never really thinking about shooting 59, I was just having fun out there. I had a good chance for birdie on 17 after I hit a good putt and just misread it slightly but 59 didn’t really cross my mind too much. I was just trying to maintain the same mindset and have fun.”

Trio qualify for Open
3: Nino Bertasio qualified for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush. Photo credit: The R&A/Getty Images.

Meanwhile, Bertasio made a crucial par save at the 17 th as the 30-year-old secured his first ever Major appearance in Northern Ireland next week.

“I’m delighted. It’s been a great week and I now play in my first Major and my first Open. I’m really excited for next week.

“I knew the leaderboard was really tight, it was really bunched, so I knew a small mistake could have cost me. I just tried to do as best I could and it feels so good to do it.

“I think the par on the 17 th was crucial as I didn’t leave myself in a good spot but I was happy to get up and down and make par. I’ve heard nice things about Royal Portrush. As a kid growing up, I wouldn’t miss watching The Open. It is probably the best Major for me and my favourite championship.”

The final event in The Open Qualifying Series is the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Illinois, which concludes later today.

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