Morrison, Van Zyl and Cabrera-Bello qualify for The Open at The Alstom Open de France
James Morrison, Jaco Van Zyl and Rafael Cabrera-Bello qualified for the 144TH Open at St Andrews after the final round of the Alstom Open de France today.
Three places in the Championship, played from 16-19 July, were available through the Open Qualifying Series at the event at Le Golf National, near Paris, for the leading three non-exempt players who finished in the top ten and ties.
Morrison finished on ten-under-par, three strokes behind the winner Bernd Wiesberger, who is exempt for The Open, to secure his place at St Andrews. The 30-year-old Englishman, who won his second European Tour title at the Open de Espana in May, shot a final round four-under-par 67 and will make his second appearance in golf’s oldest Championship after finishing tied 23rd at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2012.
“I cannot wait, it’s every boy’s dream,” said Morrison. “It’s the home of golf and I can’t wait to get there now. My goal was to try to have another go at it this week and I have done that. It is not easy to finish top five any week but to finish second and secure a place is even better.”
South Africa’s Van Zyl finished two shots further back in third place after a final round two-over-par 73 left him on eight-under-par for the Championship. The 36-year-old from Johannesburg, who played in the 2013 US Open at Merion and the USPGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club the same year, will make his debut in The Open at the home of golf.
“It’s great. I played really, really nicely and securing a spot in The Open means a lot to me. It’s always great to be at St Andrews and the history is just absolutely phenomenal,” said Van Zyl.
“Playing it in The Open is just going to mean so much more. It’s all going to be pretty new. I played in the US Open a couple of years ago but this is a very different feel and I am just looking forward to it.”
Cabrera-Bello achieved a remarkable turnaround after getting off to a poor start in the final round with a double bogey six at the 1st hole, a triple bogey seven at the 5th and a bogey at the 7th.
The 31-year-old Spaniard holed his second shot on the par four 12th for an eagle, birdied the next and then eagled the par five 14th. At the last hole, the two-time winner on the European Tour holed a 25 foot putt for a dramatic birdie which meant he had shot 29 for the back nine. That took him to five-under-par for the Championship and was enough to secure the last qualifying place. He finished two shots behind Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who is exempt for The Open.
“It means a lot to me,” said Cabrera-Bello. “The Open is my favourite championship in the world. I played the last three years, particularly at Muirfield, I really enjoyed it as I was up there contending for most of the Championship. I think my game is in really good form at the moment.”
The Open Qualifying Series continues with the Greenbrier Classic on the PGA TOUR today and next week with the John Deere Classic and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on the European Tour.
Round Three Update
Van Zyl presses his claim for an Open Qualifying place at the Alstom Open de France
South Africa’s Jaco Van Zyl strengthened his grip on a place in The Open at St Andrews by moving into the lead after today’s third round of the Alstom Open de France.
The 36-year-old is aiming to make his debut in The Open and produced an excellent seven-under-par round of 64 at Le Golf National to take a two-stroke lead in the championship on ten-under-par and hold one of the places at St Andrews on offer in the Open Qualifying Series this week.
Van Zyl rounded off the day with a birdie at the last, his seventh of the day, and kept his card bogey-free. He said, “I just felt really comfortable out there today. I played nicely, tee to green I hit it really good and I think I only missed one fairway. And I made a couple of putts when I needed to.&rdqu
Three places in the 144TH Open at St Andrews, from 16-19 July, are available for the leading three non-exempt players who finish in the top ten and ties on Sunday.
Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer also turned on the style with a six-under-par 65 to finish two shots off the lead and hold the second qualifying place going into tomorrow’s final round. “It would be great to go to St Andrews. I think that is always the most special Open. But I have just got to go shot by shot tomorrow and see what happens really. It is just something that comes with playing good golf and hitting good shots.”
The 25-year-old from Dusseldorf, who has one win on the European Challenge Tour, finished tied third at the Nordea Masters last month and tied eighth at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation in May. As an amateur, he represented Germany at the 2010 World Amateur Team Championships and played for the Continent of Europe in the 2010 St Andrews Trophy match against Great Britain and Ireland.
The third qualifying place is occupied by Englishman James Morrison, whose three-under-par round of 68 today took him to six-under-par for the Championship. He is one shot behind Bernd Wiesberger, who is exempt for The Open, and tied for fourth alongside Martin Kaymer and Victor Dubuisson, who are also exempt.
The 30-year-old from Guildford, who won his second European Tour title at the Open de Espana in May to follow on from his win in the Madeira Islands Open in 2010, is aiming to play in The Open for a second time after finishing tied 23rd at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2012. “It was another really good day,” he said. “It was a very, very enjoyable day and I played well.”
For scoring from the Alstom Open de France please click here
Round Two Update
Rafael Cabrera-Bello leads the way in the race for the three places on offer through the Open Qualifying Series after the second round of the Alstom Open de France today.
The Spaniard shot a one-under-par round of 70 at Le Golf National to move to four-under-par for the championship and is tied for the lead with Martin Kaymer and Victor Dubuisson, who are already exempt for The Open.
England’s James Morrison and South Africa’s Jaco Van Zyl were one shot further back and hold the other qualifying places thanks to their higher positions in the Official World Golf Ranking than Englishman Daniel Brooks, who also finished on three-under-par. Tyrell Hatton and Francesco Molinari were on the same mark and are exempt for The Open.
The 31-year-old Cabrera-Bello mixed four birdies and three dropped shots in his round and spoke of his determination to make his fourth consecutive Open appearance and his first at the Home of Golf. “For me The Open is the biggest golf championship in the world,” he said. “I really want to play. I felt very disappointed in Ireland when I missed it when I really had a great chance to get that spot but there are two more chances, this week and next week, and I am really going to try my best. Obviously playing in The Open in St Andrews is something I really want to experience as a professional golfer.”
Morrison avoided dropping a shot in breezy conditions and notched up three birdies on his way to a three-under-par 68. The 30-year-old from Guildford, who won his second European Tour title at the Open de Espana in May, said, “I have played in The Open once and I would love to play there again. My game is in good enough shape to compete at The Open so I just want to squeeze in there if I can. You always want to play in a Major, especially at St Andrews.”
Despite dropping three shots in his last two holes, Van Zyl carded a level par round of 71. The 36-year-old is aiming to make his debut in The Open. “Only two weeks left and I am trying to crack a spot there,” he said. “It would be great to get in there. At the end of the day it is a Major and there are only four of them every year so any crack you can have at one of those is great. Obviously being at St Andrews makes it so much more special.”
The cut fell at four-over-par. The players remaining in the field who are exempt for The Open are: Martin Kaymer, Victor Dubuisson, Tyrrell Hatton, Francesco Molinari, Bernd Wiesberger, Andy Sullivan, Scott Hend, Marcus Fraser, Marcel Siem, Thomas Bjorn, David Lipsky, Anthony Wall, Thongchai Jaidee, Byeong Hun An, Soren Kjeldsen, David Howell, Jamie Donaldson, Edoardo Molinari, Robert Dinwiddie, Anirban Lahiri, Eddie Pepperell and Mikko Ilonen.
Round One Update
With delays caused by thunder in the morning and evening on Thursday, 42 players had to complete their first rounds at Le Golf National this morning as others got their second rounds underway with a two-tee start in operation.
Spaniard Cabrera-Bello and South Africa’s Van Zyl were tied for the lead with home hope Victor Dubuisson and Austria’s Bernd Weisberger, who are already exempt, on three-under-par after opening 68’s.
Two-time winner on the European Tour Cabrera-Bello, who is bidding to make his fourth consecutive appearance in The Open, carded three birdies in his opening round as did Van Zyl, who would make his debut in The Open if he qualifies.
The last of the places was occupied by Australian Dodt, who dropped a shot on the 2nd hole but bounced back with three birdies for a two-under-par 69. He was tied with six players on that mark but would secure the qualifying place thanks to his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking than fellow non-exempt players Simon Khan, Daniel Gaunt and Gregory Bourdy. Dodt, who is a two-time winner on the European Tour, would also make his first appearance in The Open if he were to qualify after Sunday’s final round.