Lee, Hearn, Hahn and Owen qualify for The Open at the Greenbrier Classic
Danny Lee, David Hearn, James Hahn and Greg Owen qualified for the 144TH Open at St Andrews today at the Greenbrier Classic at The Old White TPC.
Lee earned his first victory on the PGA TOUR following a two-hole play-off with Hearn after the pair finished tied on 13-under-par alongside Americans Robert Streb and Kevin Kisner, who were both already exempt for The Open and bowed out after the first play-off hole.
New Zealander Lee carded a three-under-par 67 to close out the tournament and is set to make his first appearance in golf’s oldest championship when it is played from 16-19 July. The 24-year-old is a former US Amateur champion and was the recipient of the Mark H McCormack medal as the top player in the WORLD AMATEUR GOLF RANKING™ in 2008.
“This means a lot, it’s the home of golf. I’ve never been to St Andrews, I’ve only ever seen it on television when I have been cheering for Tiger Woods winning. It’s going to be amazing and it’s going to be so much fun,” said Lee. I’m very lucky that it’s being played at St Andrews because I’ve always wanted to play there.”
Canadian Hearn will make his second consecutive start in The Open after gaining entry as a reserve at Royal Liverpool in 2014 where he finished tied 32nd. The 36-year-old from Ontario mixed five birdies with two bogeys to close with a three-under-par 67 and secure his place at St Andrews. His result matches his best career finish on the PGA TOUR after he lost in a play-off to Jordan Spieth at the 2013 John Deere Classic.
“It’s really special, I had a chance to get over to The Open Championship last year and I’m excited to get back this year especially with it being at the home of golf. Going into these two weeks that has been my primary goal to get into St Andrews and that mission was accomplished,” said Hearn.
Hahn and Owen finished two-shots further back on 11-under-par to share sixth place with David Lingmerth and Brendon Todd, who have already earned exemptions into The Open, as well as Andres Romero, Chad Collins, and Bryce Molder. Hahn and Owen secured the places by virtue of their higher positions in the Official World Golf Ranking. Russell Henley, who has also already earned a place at St Andrews, finished alone in fifth on 12-under-par.
American Hahn, who hails from California, turned in a four-under-par 66 early in the day that was enough to secure him a place in The Open. The 33-year-old earned his maiden PGA TOUR victory at the Northern Trust Open in February in a play-off over Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey. He played in the US Open in 2012 and the Masters Tournament in 2015 and will make his first appearance at The Open in less than two weeks’ time.
“I’ve never played St Andrews before, I’ve only seen it on TV. It’s definitely pretty surreal at the moment, said Hahn. “It’s one of those golf courses that everyone knows and everyone recognises the holes. It will be really fun to go out there and play that Championship. “
Owen, from Mansfield, England, posted a three-under-par 67 on Sunday and is set to make his seventh start in The Open. The 43-year-old has one win each on the European, Challenge and Web.com Tours and had his best result at The Open in 2006 at Royal Liverpool where he finished tied 22nd.
“Obviously being British it’s a huge honour to play in The Open. I’ve played well at St Andrews in the Dunhill and I made my first cut in The Open there in 2000 so I’m very excited to get back. I’ve not played it since the new tees have been put in so I’ve got some work to do, but I’m very much looking forward to the challenge.”
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Round Three Recap
Bohn, O'Hair, Molder and Park hold Open qualifying places at the Greenbrier Classic
It was all change at the top of the leaderboard on moving day at the Greenbrier Classic, with Americans Jason Bohn, Sean O’Hair, and Bryce Molder tied for first place at 11-under-par alongside SJ Park of Korea.
The leaders currently hold the qualifying places for the 144th Open at St Andrews that are on offer this week at The Old White TPC in West Virginia. Four players who finish in the top 12 and ties, who are not otherwise exempt, will earn a place in The Open which will be played from 16-19 July at the home of golf.
Bohn nearly missed the cut but carded a nine-under-par 61 in the third round to charge up the leaderboard. The 42-year-old started strong with six birdies on the first 10 holes, and after a bogey on the 11th hole regrouped with four more birdies on his way in. A two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, the Pennsylvania native has had two runner-up finishes this year. He will be looking to secure a return to St Andrews where he made his first and only appearance in The Open in 2010.
O’Hair mixed six birdies and two bogeys to post a four-under-par 66 on Saturday. The 32-year-old Texan is looking for his first PGA TOUR title and his first victory since 2011 after losing in a playoff to Jordan Spieth at the Valspar Championship in March. He has made seven previous appearances at The Open, with his best finish at St Andrews in 2010 where he finished tied seventh, and is currently in position to make a return to the home of golf.
“Everyone loves playing in The Open at St Andrews. I’ve played there twice and had some success both times,” said O’Hair, who finished tied 15th in his debut Open appearance in 2005. “It’s not something I’m going to put a ton of pressure on myself to try and achieve, but to pull that off would be fantastic.”
Molder reached 11-under-par with a birdie at the ninth hole before carding nine straight pars. The 36-year-old’s lone win on the PGA TOUR came in a playoff at the 2011 Frys.com Open, and the former Walker Cup player has made a single appearance at The Open in 2009 where he finished tied 43rd.
Park is in his rookie season on the PGA TOUR after playing on the Web.com Tour and the Japan Golf Tour where he won the 2013 Vana H Cup KBC Augusta. The 29-year-old posted a bogey-free 66 on Saturday to earn a share of the lead heading into the final 18-holes. If Park can maintain his form his will make his Major Championship debut at The Open in less than two weeks’ time.
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Round Two Recap
At the halfway mark of the Greenbrier Classic, Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas and American Scott Langley lead the chase for the four Open qualifying places on offer at The Old White TPC in West Virginia.
The pair sit tied at the top of the leaderboard at nine-under-par following a day of testing conditions that saw play suspended briefly in the morning due to heavy rain. Vegas and Langley are currently in position to secure a place in The Open at St Andrews along with New Zealand’s Danny Lee and American Kevin Chappell who are one shot further back at eight-under-par.
Vegas’ steady play on Friday saw him add a bogey-free 65 to his opening 66 to earn his share of the lead heading into the weekend. The 30-year-old won the 2011 Bob Hope Classic in a playoff over Bill Haas and Gary Woodland and is looking for a second title on the PGA TOUR this week, as well as a place in golf’s oldest championship.
“I’ve never been able to play The Open Championship so I’m definitely thinking about it, especially with it being at St Andrews because that makes it even more special,” said Vegas. “That’s definitely one of the goals for the week so I’m hoping that I get in.”
Langley’s eight-under-par 62 on Thursday was enough to keep him in front after he carded a one-under-par 69 in the second round, mixing three birdies with a pair of bogeys. The 26-year-old tied for low amateur honours at the 2010 US Open after winning the NCAA individual championship and is bidding to make his first start in The Open.
Lee and Chappell are near the top of the tightly packed leaderboard tied for third place alongside Canadian David Hearn, Americans Johnathan Byrd, Chad Collins, and Bryce Molder and Englishman Greg Owen, with Lee and Chappell holding the qualifying places by virtue of their higher positions in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Lee, a former US Amateur champion that held the number one spot on the WORLD AMATEUR GOLF RANKING™ for several weeks in 2008, carded a one-under-par 69 on Friday to remain in the hunt for a debut appearance in The Open and a maiden PGA TOUR victory.
Kevin Chappell also enjoyed a glittering amateur career that saw him represent the United States in the 2008 Palmer Cup after winning the Jack Nicklaus award as the top collegiate golfer in the country. The 28-year-old has earned a single victory on the Nationwide Tour and finished tied third in the 2011 US Open. He has also made appearances at the PGA Championship and the Masters Tournament and is looking to make his first start at The Open this year at St Andrews.
Round One Recap
Americans Scott Langley and Jonathan Byrd, Danny Lee of New Zealand and Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa hold the four qualifying places for The Open on offer at the Greenbrier Classic at The Old White TPC.
Langley, from Illinois, opened the tournament with an eight-under-par 62 to sit at the top of the leaderboard a single shot ahead of the rest of the field. He is looking for his first PGA TOUR victory after enjoying a strong amateur career that saw him tie with Russell Henley for low amateur honours at the 2010 US Open a month after he won the NCAA individual championship title. The 26-year-old is bidding to make his debut appearance in The Open at St Andrews.
Byrd also managed to make his way around the course without dropping a shot and is tied with Lee in second place at seven-under-par. The South Carolina native was the 2002 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year and has five titles under his belt. The 37-year-old has made three previous appearances at The Open, with his best result coming in 2007 at Carnoustie where he finished tied 23rd.
“If you’ve got a pulse, you want to play in The Open at St Andrews,” said Byrd of the opportunity to qualify. “Doing it is another thing. You want to block it out of your mind but on Sunday that will probably be difficult.”
Lee carded a pair of birdies on the front nine before gaining momentum after the turn to post a further five birdies on the way in to sit tied for second place. The 24-year-old is a former US Amateur champion and recipient of the Mark H McCormack medal as the leading amateur in the WORLD AMATEUR GOLF RANKING™ for 2008. He has earned a single victory on the European Tour and is bidding to make a first appearance in golf’s oldest Major Championship.
Ishikawa posted a six-under-par 64 on Thursday to sit tied for fourth place alongside England’s Brian Davis, with Ishikawa holding the qualifying place based on his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking. The 23-year-old is an 11-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour and earned his first professional victory there at the age of 15. He has played at The Open on five occasions, with his best result at St Andrews in 2010 where he finished tied 27th.