Sweden’s Jonas Blixt is looking forward to playing in The Open Championship once again this year and believes players will be competing hard for the qualifying places available at the Greenbrier Classic this week.
The 2013 Greenbrier champion has already secured his place in The Open at Royal Liverpool from 17-20 July and the leading four players who finish in the top 12, that are not already exempt, this week will qualify and join him.
Blixt made his debut in The Open at Muirfield last year and finished in a tie for 26th. He carried that form in to the PGA Championship, where he finished fourth, and this year’s Masters, where he finished as joint runner-up with Jordan Spieth behind the winner Bubba Watson.
“Muirfield was a great place, I mean it was fantastic,” he said. “I feel like that is true golf. It’s hard when you have been over here for so long to get used to that mindset of going to links golf and get used to the wind and the shots that you play there. I felt like the golf course was probably playing four shots easier in the morning compared to the afternoon. It was a tough test of golf. I played two good rounds and two terrible rounds. I hope I can have four good rounds this year.”
Among those who will be looking to qualify for The Open will be European Ryder Cup player Peter Hanson. The Swede has six wins on the European Tour and has made six appearances in The Open with his best finish coming at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2012 when he was tied for 23rd.
Argentinian Andres Romero, who finished tied eighth in The Open at Hoylake in 2006 and third at Carnoustie in 2007, is in the Greenbrier field alongside Colombian Camilo Villegas, who finished tied 13th at Turnberry in 2009. Former American Walker Cup player Patrick Cantlay, who won the McCormack Medal as the number one ranked amateur in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ in 2011, will be aiming to make his Open debut.
Former Open Champions Tom Watson, Sir Nick Faldo, Darren Clarke, Ben Curtis and John Daly head the list of players who are exempt from qualifying for The Open in the Greenbrier field. As well as Blixt, there is Keegan Bradley, Angel Cabrera, Roberto Castro, KJ Choi, Brendon de Jonge, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Bill Haas, Chesson Hadley, JB Holmes, Charles Howell III, Chris Kirk, Marc Leishman, Justin Leonard, Ben Martin, Kevin Na, D.A. Points, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Scott Stallings, Shawn Stefani, Brendan Steele, Steve Stricker, Brendon Todd, Jimmy Walker, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson, Gary Woodland and Y.E. Yang.
The Greenbrier Classic is part of The Open Qualifying Series, which comprises 14 events in nine countries on five continents. The Series will also include the John Deere Classic on the PGA TOUR.