Dong-Kyu Jang of Korea, Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines, Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Tomohiro Kondo of Japan hold the four qualifying positions for the 2014 Open Championship at the conclusion of the third round at the Open Qualifying Series Japan — Mizuno Open at JFE Setonaikai Golf Club in Okayama.
Jang, who has played on the Japan Golf Tour for the past three years, moved to the top of the leaderboard after turning in a five-under-par 67 on Saturday. The 25-year-old carded seven birdies against two bogeys and is looking to make his Major Championship debut at The Open, which will be played from 17-20 July at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake.
“It is every golfer’s dream to play in a Major and it is the one thing I want to achieve as a golfer. I feel my game is good enough into the last round and I hope to qualify for The Open,” said Jang, who currently sits at twelve-under-par overall.
Pagunsan won the 2011 Asian Tour Order of Merit to qualify for the 2012 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes where he finished tied for 72nd. The 36-year-old carded a seven-under par 65 on Saturday, the lowest score of the tournament so far. He finished his third round in style with an eagle on the 18th hole and sits at ten-under-par, two shots behind Jang.
Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata is in third place at eight-under-par and has already secured his place in The Open after winning the Open Qualifying Series event in Thailand in March.
Hendry and Kondo hold the third and fourth qualifying places based on their higher positions in the Official World Golf Ranking. They are tied for fourth place at six-under-par alongside Korea’s In-Hoi Hur and Nobuhiro Masuda and Taichi Teshima of Japan.
Hendry, 34, has two victories on the PGA Tour of Australasia and one on the OneAsia Tour and is looking to make his first appearance at a Major Championship. Kondo is a five-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour and played in the 2007 Open at Carnoustie and the 2009 Open at Turnberry, missing the cut on both occasions.
At the conclusion of play on Sunday, four competitors that finish in the top 12 and ties, who are not already exempt, will earn places in the field at the 143rd Open Championship. The Mizuno Open is the fourth event in the new Open Qualifying Series which consists of 14 events in nine countries on five continents.