The road to The Open continues with four places at Royal Troon up for grabs in Memphis
The Open Qualifying Series moves to the United States this week where four players at the FedEx St Jude Classic will secure their place at The 145th Open at Royal Troon.
A total of nine places in golf’s most international major championship are up for grabs on the PGA TOUR through the Series, with four on offer at the Quicken Loans National from 23-26 June and a single place available at the Greenbrier Classic on the eve of The Open from July 7-10.
This week will see four players that finish in the top 12 and ties at TPC Southwind earn a place in the starting field alongside the world’s best players when The Open returns to Royal Troon from 10-17 July. The event is the sixth stop in The Open Qualifying Series, which gives players at leading Tour events around the world the chance to qualify for golf’s original championship.
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, said, “We are very much looking forward to the three events in The Open Qualifying Series in the United States. I’m sure there will be a great deal of competition for the places in The Open and the opportunity to join the world’s best players at Royal Troon.”
Defending champion Fabian Gomez of Argentina will lead the chase for the qualifying places and is looking to secure his first appearance in The Open after winning twice on the PGA TOUR last year.
Other past winners of the FedEx St Jude Classic who will be looking to qualify include 2014 champion Ben Crane, 2009 winner Brian Gay and David Toms, who earned back-to-back victories in Memphis in 2003 and 2004. US Open winners Graeme McDowell, who won the OHL Classic at Mayakoba earlier this year, and Retief Goosen will also be looking to book their places at Royal Troon.
Thirteen players in Memphis have already secured their place in The Open, including 2013 Champion Golfer of the Year Phil Mickelson who will headline the 156-player field. He will tee off alongside Justin Leonard, a two-time winner at TPC Southwind (2005, 2008) who is set to return to Royal Troon after lifting the Claret Jug there in 1997.
Ernie Els, winner of The Open in 2004 and 2012, is also exempt and is making his first start in the FedEx St Jude Classic in 21 years. He is grouped with Harris English who earned his first PGA TOUR victory in Memphis three years ago and will make his fifth consecutive appearance in The Open this summer. Padraig Harrington, winner of The Open in 2007 and 2008, and Stewart Cink, 2009 Champion Golfer of the Year, are also exempt for the Championship.
Other players in the field that have already secured a place in The Open are Dustin Johnson, who is looking for his second victory at TPC Southwind after winning in 2012, Daniel Berger, Steven Bowditch, Matt Jones, and Brooks Koepka, as well as Rod Pampling and Jamie Donaldson who earned places in The 145th Open through The Open Qualifying Series events in Australia and Thailand.
A total of 44 places at Royal Troon are available through The Open Qualifying Series. Denmark’s Lasse Jensen earned his place last weekend at the Nordea Masters in Sweden.A further eight places are available on the European Tour at the 100th Open de France and the Scottish Open.
The Open returns to Royal Troon for the ninth time this summer and will bring together the world’s finest players in pursuit of the most coveted trophy in golf. American Zach Johnson will look to defend the title he won in a play-off over Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman at St Andrews in 2015 and become the seventh American in succession to lift the Claret Jug at Royal Troon.