Bernd Wiesberger, Robert Rock and Paul Waring have secured their places in The 148th Open at Royal Portrush after qualifying at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
The event was played at Lahinch Golf Club and was the 11th 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.
Wiesberger’s decision to skip Final Qualifying to focus on preparations for this week paid dividends.
He finished runner-up behind Jon Rahm, who is already exempt, with a 14-under par total of 266 and earned his place in The 148th Open. The 33-year-old Austrian was on the same mark as Andy Sullivan who has already qualified.
“We have had a really good week, I decided to withdraw from Final Qualifying, to prepare for this week and it has paid off. I enjoyed my week in Ireland and I have had a lot of success here.”
“My first one was in Muirfield and every one after that holds a special place in my golfing memory and heart. I can’t wait to get back to Northern Ireland and play Portrush in a couple of weeks.”
“We are in a good spot, playing good golf and getting a lot of stuff out of our rounds. We are grinding hard when we need to and everything is in place. Hopefully we have that sort of game in a couple of weeks as well.”
Rock earned his place in the 148th Open after delighting crowds with a course record round of ten-under par 60 on Saturday. Firing an even par fourth round was enough to see Rock qualify for The Open for an eighth time after he finished tied fourth on 13-under par 267.
“I didn’t know this is going to be my eighth Open Championship, it’s just nice to be playing another. I have had a couple of good finishes, my best being at St Andrews, which is a nice venue to play well at.”
“Portrush will be amazing, I get a nice bit of support around here.”
“Since I became a pro, it was a tournament when I started my PGA training, that you could enter into regional qualifying. That was something I grew up waiting to do, waiting to be good enough to enter. I never got through until they started doing Final Qualifying but from when I was about 18 it was realistic to enter and qualify. It’s cool to do that.”
Race to Dubai
Eddie Pepperell and Rafa Cabrera Bello, who are already exempt, finished alongside Rock.
Waring, rolled in a birdie on the 72 nd hole to confirm his place in The Open at Royal Portrush after finishing tied fifth with Jorge Campillo, who is already exempt, on a 12-under par total of 268.
This will be the 34-year-old’s fourth appearance in The Open after he made his debut as an amateur in 2007 at Carnoustie. Waring also competed in The Open in 2008 and 2017 at Royal Birkdale, having also qualified via The Open Qualifying Series in his last appearance.
“I am absolutely gobsmacked to be honest, I thought I had to go one more but to birdie the last to get in is absolutely fantastic.”
“I am really looking forward to it, I played Royal Portrush at the Irish Open in 2012 so it will be nice to get back there. I have some nice memories so looking forward to competing there for The Open.”
“I remember back in 2012 the crowds were unbelievable, and I believe The Open is sold out already so the atmosphere is going to be fantastic.”
“The Open is one of the reasons I play golf. I actually remember watching it as a kid and then wanting to go play pitch and putt with my grandad. It is one of things that I have held really close to my heart.” The next event in The Open Qualifying Series is the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, which takes place at The Renaissance Club and the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run from 11-14 July.