The Open Qualifying Series - Australian Open
Jones, Pampling and Cullen qualify for The 145TH Open in Australia
Matt Jones, Rod Pampling and Nick Cullen qualified for the 145TH Open at Royal Troon after today’s final round of the Emirates Australian Open in Sydney.
“It’s one Major I would love to win, it’s one Major that I think suits my golf game the best. I’m absolutely ecstatic to get back to The Open.”
In the first event of The Open Qualifying Series, the Australian trio secured their places in next year’s Championship at Royal Troon from 14-17 July 2016.
Jones qualified in style by winning the Emirates Australian Open, finishing on an eight-under-par total of 276 for the championship, one shot ahead of Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth, who are both exempt for The Open.
Pampling finished a shot further back on six-under-par, three ahead of Cullen who tied on three-under-par with fellow Australian Lincoln Tighe but secured the qualifying place thanks to his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Sydney-born Jones, who is a member of The Australian Golf Club, which hosted the event, endured an eventful final round, including a triple bogey seven on the par 4 9th hole, but finished strongly with birdies on the 14th and 16th holes before calmly holing a four foot par putt on the last to seal victory. Jones, 35, will make his third consecutive appearance in The Open after finishing tied 30th at St Andrews this year.
“It’s one Major I would love to win, it’s one Major that I think suits my golf game the best,” said Jones. “I’m absolutely ecstatic to get back to The Open. I have played it the last two years and to be able to qualify this early on means I can schedule around it and get ready for it.
“I just love it over there, being in Europe playing golf is just fantastic. I can’t wait to get over there for The Open. Apart from winning this golf tournament, that was my next goal - to qualify for The Open. I want to play as many Majors as I can and to qualify for The Open already this year is fantastic. I am going to go over a week early this time and prepare.”
Pampling started the day at four-over-par and a bogey at the first did not augur well but from there the Queenslander birdied nine of the next 16 holes before holing a putt across the length of the green on the last for a dramatic eagle for a ten-under-par, course record 61 that took him into the qualifying places.
“I’m delighted to get back there. Obviously it’s where the game started. The results haven’t shown it, but I really enjoy playing The Open.”
The 46-year-old will make his ninth appearance in The Open at Royal Troon, where he finished tied 27th in 2004, his joint best finish in the Championship. Pampling came through The Open Qualifying Series at the Emirates Australian Open last year to secure his place at the 144TH Open at St Andrews.
“To know you’re in the event is fantastic,” said Pampling. “Peter Dawson let me start the event off last year and it was fantastic to have that honour.
“I’m delighted to get back there. Obviously it’s where the game started. The results haven’t shown it, but I really enjoy playing The Open. Hopefully this year, maybe I will work it out and who knows what we can do. It’s certainly awesome to be getting back into The Open again.”
Culllen mixed five birdies and four bogeys in his final round 68 but an eagle on the par five 14th hole helped him move to three-under-par for the championship. When former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy’s challenge faded after dropping three shots on the last two holes to finish on one-under-par, the 31-year-old from Adelaide secured his second appearance in The Open after making his Major Championship debut in The Open at Royal Lytham in 2012.
“It is probably one of the most memorable experiences I have had (playing at The Open in 2012),” said Cullen. “Unfortunately I missed the cut by a shot but links golf I have always loved it so playing at Troon is going to be amazing.
“It’s unbelievable. I didn’t think it would be enough coming in. I thought I needed to make a couple of putts in the last couple of holes but I’ll take it. I’m very happy.”
The Open Qualifying Series continues at the Thailand Golf Championship from 10-13 December 2015.
Round 3 Update
Jones remains in pole position for Open Qualifying at Emirates Australian Open
Australia’s Matt Jones remains in pole position to secure a qualifying place in The 145TH Open at Royal Troon going into tomorrow’s final round of the Emirates Australian Open in Sydney.
The Sydney-born player carded a three-under-par 68 to move to ten-under-par overall and retain the lead in the Championship by three shots from Jordan Spieth, who is already exempt for The Open. Jones mixed three birdies and three bogeys on the front nine before picking up further shots at the 14th, 17th and 18th.
The 35-year-old is joined in the qualifying places by fellow Australians Rhein Gibson and Aron Price, who are on five-under and four-under-par respectively for the championship. Price holds the place thanks to his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking than Lincoln Tighe, who is on the same mark.
Gibson, who recently secured his PGA TOUR card after finishing 20th in the Web.com Tour rankings, dropped just one shot on his way to a three-under-par 68. The 29-year-old from Victoria came through The Open Qualifying Series at the Emirates Australian Open in 2013 to secure a place in The 143RD Open at Royal Liverpool, where he finished 72nd.
Price finished strongly with two closing birdies to card a one-under-par round of 70. The 33-year-old from Sydney has recorded two career wins on the Web.com Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia. He made his Major Championship debut in the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst.
The 2015 Emirates Australian Open is the first event in The Open Qualifying Series and three players who finish in the top ten and ties who are not already exempt, will earn places in The Open at Royal Troon, which will be played from 14-17 July 2016.
Round 2 Update
Jones leads Open Qualifying after day two of the Emirates Australian Open
Australia’s Matt Jones leads the race for qualifying places in The 145TH Open after today’s second round of the Emirates Australian Open.
“It’s a great way to be able to get into a Major for myself and for a lot of other guys that wouldn’t otherwise get a lot of opportunity to do it.”
The 35-year-old, playing on his home course at The Australian Golf Club, compiled a three-under-par 68 in breezy conditions, to take a three shot lead in the Championship at seven-under-par and hold the first of the qualifying places for The Open.
Jones, who won last year on the PGA TOUR and finished tied 30th in The Open at St Andrews this year, said The Open is the Major Championship he most wants to win.
“It’s probably my favourite because it’s similar to playing golf in Australia, what we grew upon – windy, fast, hard and that’s why I’m playing the Australian Open - to win the Australian Open and get a start in The Open,” he added. “It’s a great way to be able to get into a Major for myself and for a lot of other guys that wouldn’t otherwise get a lot of opportunity to do it.”
Jones’ fellow Australian, Todd Sinnott, holds the second qualifying place after posting a steady one-under-par 70 to move to four-under-par for the championship. The 23-year-old Victorian dropped a shot at the 5th but bounced back with birdies at the 15th and the 18th. Sinnott turned professional in January after securing his PGA Tour of Australasia playing card with a second-placed finish at the Q-School. He will make his Major Championship debut if he qualifies.
The third qualifying place is held by former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, who recorded a level par 71, to sit on three-under-par. Ogilvy is tied with Jordan Spieth, who is already exempt for The Open, as well as Aron Price, Nicolas Colsaerts and Lincoln Tighe, and holds the place by virtue of his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Round 1 Update
Tighe leads qualifying places for The 145TH Open in Australia
Young Australian Lincoln Tighe holds the first qualifying place for The 145TH Open at Royal Troon after the first round of the Emirates Australian Open in Sydney today.
“I missed The Open a few years ago and hated having to watch it on TV so it would be great to get it done early, if it’s not the biggest and best Championship in the world then I don’t know what is.”
The 26-year-old from Wollongong produced a five-under-par round of 66 to take the first round lead and hold the first of the three places available in golf’s oldest Championship through The Open Qualifying Series.
The 2014 New South Wales PGA Champion, who is currently going through Q-School for the Web.com Tour, carded seven birdies and just two dropped shots in hot and blustery conditions at The Australian Golf Club. Tighe will make his Major Championship debut if he secures a place at Royal Troon this week.
“That would be great (if I could qualify),” said Tighe. “I haven’t played a Major before so it would be a great opportunity. I have just got to finish it off.”
Tighe leads Sydney-born Matthew Jones by a shot and is two clear of fellow home hope Geoff Ogilvy, who hold the other qualifying places respectively. The 35-year-old Jones, who won the Shell Houston Open on the PGA TOUR in 2014, notched up three birdies on the front nine on his way to a four-under-par 67. Jones is aiming to make his third consecutive appearance in The Open after finishing tied 30th at St Andrews this year.
Former US Open champion Ogilvy is bidding to return to The Open at Royal Troon after finishing tied 40th at St Andrews in July. The 38-year-old got off to a great start with four birdies in his first six holes, starting from the 10th hole, but undid the good work with a bogey and double bogey at the 17th and 18th. Ogilvy recovered with three birdies on his second nine before a dropped shot at the last saw him finish with a three-under-par 68.
“I missed The Open a few years ago and hated having to watch it on TV so it would be great to get it done early,” said Ogilvy. “If it’s not the biggest and best Championship in the world then I don’t know what is.”
Ogilvy tied on three-under-par with another Australian, Todd Sinnott, and Chinese Taipei amateur Chun-An Wu but holds the qualifying places thanks to his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).