Prayad, Phachara, Song and Kruger qualify for The Open

Thailand’s Prayad, Phachara, Korea’s Song, and South Africa’s Kruger secured their places in The Open after qualifying at the SMBC Singapore Open.

The Open qualifiers, Left to right, Phachara of Thailand,Prayad of Thailand, Kruger of South Africa and Song of Korea during round four of the SMBC Singapore Open. The four players have qualified for the Open at Royal Birkdale

Jan 22, 2017: Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng and Phachara Khongwatmai, Korea’s Younghan Song, and South Africa’s Jbe Kruger secured their places in The Open after qualifying at the SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club on Sunday.

The 51st playing of Singapore’s national Open was the second event in The Open Qualifying Series for The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale which will be played from 16-23 July, 2017.

The Series offers 44 places in golf’s most international major championship at leading Tour events across the globe.

It was a day to remember for 50-year-old Marksaeng, who lifted the trophy after a closing round of 67 (-4) saw him finish at the top of the leaderboard on nine-under-par.

The popular Thai golfer will look to make it sixth time lucky when he returns to The Open in July after earning a qualifying place in Singapore.

It will be a busy summer for Marksaeng, who is set to play in the Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl the following week.

Rising teenage star Khongwatmai kept a cool head to shoot lever par, capitalising on his previous performances, which included a 67 on Saturday, to finish the day tied for second place on eight-under-par.

The 17-year-old, who earned his first professional victory at the Sing Hu Hin Open aged just 14, played in The Open at Royal Troon last July.

For the second year running Khongwatmai earns his exemption through The Open Qualifying Series, having booked his place last time in Thailand.

Last year’s Singapore Open champion Song, 25, will make his Open debut at Royal Birkdale after closing out the tournament with a 69 to finish tied second.

In 2016 the Korean recorded a slender victory over then world number one Jordan Spieth, beating the American by one stroke in a play-off to claim his maiden professional title.

Kruger owes his place at Royal Birkdale to a wonderful eagle at the last after his second shot skimmed over the surrounding bunkers to land within 20 feet of the pin. Kruger sunk his final putt to propel him up the leaderboard to join the mix of players on eight-under-par in second place.

The South African is a three-time winner on the Sunshine Tour and will make his second appearance at The Open this summer after playing in 2012 at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

The next event in The Open Qualifying Series is the Joburg Open in South Africa from 23-26 February, 2017.

Three players who finish in the top 10 and ties, and who are not otherwise exempt, will earn places at The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale.


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