The Open Qualifying Series - Joburg Open
Haydn Porteous, Zander Lombard and Anthony Wall qualify for The Open in South Africa
Newly crowned Joburg Open champion Haydn Porteous capped an excellent week for golf in South Africa by earning a place in The Open alongside compatriot Zander Lombard and England’s Anthony Wall.
The Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington was the third event in The Open Qualifying Series with three places on offer for The 145th Open at Royal Troon from 14-17 July.
Local favourite Porteous sealed his maiden European Tour victory with a birdie on the 18th hole to finish two shots clear of the field on 18-under-par. The 21-year-old delivered a steady performance on Sunday, carding three birdies without dropping a shot for a three-under-par 69. The former South African Amateur Stroke Play champion, who was the top ranked amateur in the country before turning professional in 2013, will now make his first start in a Major Championship when he takes to the world stage at Royal Troon.
“It’s a dream for any golfer out there, through junior golf, amateur golf and professional golf,” said Porteous. “It’s the best of the best, even to go to The Open and watch is a big thing. To get into The Open on merit is just a dream come true.”
Lombard, who turns 21 tomorrow, clinched his place in The Open with a birdie putt on the final hole to finish as runner-up. The Pretoria resident, who finished second in the Amateur Championship in 2014 at Royal Portrush, delivered four birdies and despite dropping shots at the 9th, 11th and 14th holes was able to secure a place in golf’s oldest championship.
“I have played at Royal Troon before as a junior, and it’s just an amazing track. It will be a great honour to play there,” said Lombard.
Wall managed to repeat his success in The Open Qualifying Series in South Africa, earning a place in The Open for the second year in a row. The 40-year-old from London finished in a tie for third place on 15-under-par alongside Sweden’s Bjorn Akesson, Daniel Im of the United States and South Africa’s Justin Walters and earns a place in The Open based on his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking. 2016 will mark Wall’s seventh appearance at The Open and his first at Royal Troon, with his best result to date coming at Royal Liverpool in 2006 when he finished tied 11th.
“I have been lucky; I get to play in the greatest event in the world again. I was second last year and got a spot right on the nail, and this year the same,” said Wall. “It’s the greatest honour a golfer can have. It’s the greatest place to play golf.”
Porteous’ victory is the second straight win by a young South African player on the European Tour, following Brandon Stone’s triumph last week at the BMW SA Open. Porteous, Lombard and Stone represented South Africa at the 2012 Eisenhower Trophy at the World Amateur Team Championships.
The Open Qualifying Series continues in Japan where four places in The Open will be on offer at the Mizuno Open at JFE Setonaikai Golf Club from 26-29 May.
Round 3 Recap
Zander Lombard, Haydn Porteous and Anthony Wall in position to qualify for Royal Troon at the Joburg Open
A three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard has Zander Lombard, Haydn Porteous and Anthony Wall in position to qualify for The Open with 18 holes left to play at the Joburg Open in South Africa.
Three players that finish in the top ten and ties, who are not already exempt, will earn a place in The 145th Open at Royal Troon from 14-17 July.
Young South Africans Lombard and Porteous are both in pursuit of a maiden European Tour victory as well as a first start in a Major Championship. Lombard set the clubhouse target at 15-under-par after turning in a 65 on Saturday, and was quickly matched by Porteous who eagled the first hole from a bunker en route to a four-under-par 68 with birdies on the final two holes.
Lombard, who finished runner-up in the 2014 Amateur Championship, delivered his best professional result to date at the Australian PGA Championship last year where he finished fourth. Porteous is a former South African Amateur Stroke Play champion and picked up his first victory as a pro last year at the Barclays Kenya Open.
“It’s every golfer’s dream to play in The Open,” said Porteous. “It’s the best of the best, even to go to The Open and watch is a big thing for people. To play would be a dream come true.”
Wall, who earned his only European Tour victory at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in 2000, fired a bogey-free 68 to earn his share of the lead heading into the final day at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club. He is looking to go one better than his result last year that saw him finish runner-up at the Joburg Open to earn a place in The 144th Open at St Andrews where he finished tied 12th.
The Joburg Open is the third event in The Open Qualifying Series, which encompasses 14 events in nine countries around the world. Seven players have already secured places in The Open through the first two events in The Series: Matt Jones, Rod Pampling and Nick Cullen from the Emirates Australian Open and Jamie Donaldson, Lee Westwood, Clement Sordet and Phachara Khongwatmai from the Thailand Golf Championship.
Round 2 Recap
Ross McGowan fired a superb 62 on Friday to move three shots clear of the field at the halfway mark of the Joburg Open in South Africa. The Englishman currently holds one of the three qualifying places in The Open on offer at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club along with Anthony Wall, also from England, and South Africa’s Jean Hugo.
McGowan carded six birdies, two eagles and single bogey on the West Course to finish on 14-under-par. The 33-year old is chasing his second victory on the European Tour after winning the Madrid Masters in 2009, as well as a second start at The Open after making his debut at St Andrews in 2010.
“It would be great to get a spot in The Open. I’d love to get up to Royal Troon and give it a go,” said McGowan, who found the winners' circle last year on the Sunshine Tour with a victory at the Mopani/Redpath Zambia Open.
Along with his pursuit of the Joburg Open trophy, Wall is looking to continue his success with The Open Qualifying Series in South Africa after securing a place in The 144th Open at St Andrews here in 2015.
“I brought the same blue shirt (from last year), so we’ll be giving it a go again,” said Wall, who sits tied for second place on 11-under-par and is in position to make a seventh start at The Open. “I mean, what a treat to get something like that this early on in the season. That would be unbelievable.”
Hugo is tied for second place along with Wall, Chile’s Felipe Aguilar, and South Africa’s Haydn Porteous, but holds the qualifying place based on his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking. The 40-year-old former South African Amateur champion has amassed 17 victories on the Sunshine Tour and has made three appearances at The Open, most recently at St Andrews in 2010.
Following Friday’s second round, the field of 2010 players was cut to the low 65 players and ties, with the cut falling at three-under-par and 78 players continuing to the weekend, with play on both days set to place over the more difficult East Course.
Round 1 Recap
Justin Walters, Anthony Wall and Haydn Porteous hold the three qualifying places for The Open on offer at the Joburg Open following Thursday’s opening round at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.
Walters and Wall have both found success through The Open Qualifying Series in South Africa in the past, with Walters securing his Major Championship debut at Royal Liverpool by finishing as joint runner-up at the 2014 Joburg Open. Wall earned his place in The 144TH Open at St Andrews last year after finishing tied second in Johannesburg, before going on to a top-12 finish at the Home of Golf.
South African Walters opened with a seven-under-par 65 on the traditionally tougher East Course to earn a single shot lead over the 210-player field. The former Johannesburg resident mixed three birdies, a bogey and an eagle-3 on the 6th hole for a 33 on his front nine before adding birdies on 10, 14, and 18 to break a multi-way tie for the lead. The 35-year-old is looking for his third Sunshine Tour victory and a second start in The Open.
“I have a lot of good memories here, and having qualified for The Open here two years ago, I really enjoy playing here,” said Walters. “I enjoy playing in Joburg, and I just kind of feel at home somewhat. Every time you come here, you build new memories and you have more to draw on when you’re kind of in the same position.”
Wall and Porteous hold the other two places based on their higher positions in the Official World Golf Ranking after closing out the first round tied for second place on six-under-par alongside Mark Williams of Zimbabwe, Michael Jonzon and Johan Carlsson of Sweden, and David Howell of England, who is already exempt for The Open.
Englishman Wall has made six previous starts at The Open, with his best result at Royal Liverpool in 2006 when he finished tied for 11th. He carded four birdies against a single bogey on the West Course to find himself in a strong position out of the blocks in Johannesburg.
Porteous, from South Africa, earned his first professional victory last year at the Barclay’s Kenya Open and was the top-ranked amateur golfer in the country before he turned professional in 2013. The 21-year-old delivered a bogey-free round on the East Course and if he can maintain his form is in position to make his first appearance in a Major Championship this July at Royal Troon.