Sergio Garcia will miss the Open Championship for the first time since 1997 after failing to come through final qualifying.
Garcia, who finished joint second behind Rory McIlroy the last time Royal Liverpool staged the Open in 2014, was unable to claim one of the five places on offer in the 36-hole qualifying event at West Lancashire.
The former Masters champion was in good shape following an opening 67, but could only add a second round of 71 to finish six under par, five shots behind leading qualifier Matt Wallace.
“I haven’t really missed many majors since turning pro in 1999, just one because of Covid and the PGA a couple of months ago and unfortunately I’m going to miss this one,” Garcia said.
“It’s a shame but it’s the game. I felt I had it close, in the grasp of my hand, but that’s what it is. If you don’t even come here you can’t get disappointed because you are not even trying. I was trying and unfortunately it just wasn’t good enough.”
Playing alongside Garcia, Royal Liverpool member Matthew Jordan carded rounds of 65 and 69 to finish a shot behind Wallace, with South Africa’s Kyle Barker, England’s Alex Fitzpatrick and German amateur Tiger Christensen securing the other qualifying places.
“Playing in front of my home crowd today was brilliant so I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like come two weeks’ time,” Jordan said in a social media post on the DP World Tour’s account.
“It was great playing with Sergio, obviously a great player, Masters champion and brilliant off the tee. He obviously brought more people along so I thoroughly enjoyed his company. I cannot wait to get there (Hoylake).”
Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell joined fellow LIV Golf League player Garcia in missing out following rounds of 72 and 68.
Michael Block, the American club professional whose incredible tie for 15th in the US PGA Championship included a hole-in-one alongside McIlroy in the final round, also failed to advance at Dundonald Links.
Rounds of 77 and 76 left Block nine over par as Scotland’s Michael Stewart led the qualifiers on seven under.
“It was obviously a great day. It was great to have so much support out,” said Stewart, who is attached to the nearby Troon Welbeck Golf Club and birdied four of his last five holes.
“This morning was really quite tough, then the wind died a little bit in the afternoon. I’m just delighted, absolutely delighted.”