Second event in The Open Qualifying Series gets underway in Singapore
Three-time former champion Adam Scott welcomed The Open Qualifying Series to the SMBC Singapore Open before inclement weather disrupted the first round at Sentosa Golf Club on Thursday.
The event, won by the Australian in 2005, 2006 and 2010, is part of the Series for the first time, and provides players with a chance to qualify for The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale from 16-23 July. Four players who finish in the top 12 and ties, who are not already exempt, will go straight into the field of golf’s most international major championship.
A three-hour suspension due to thunder and lightning meant that just over half the competitors finished the first round on Thursday. Of those who did manage to complete 18 holes of the Serapong course, Koreas’s Kyungnan Kam and Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira were impressive, both recording a six-under-par 65 to occupy the first and second qualifying spots and sit joint top of the leaderboard with Hideto Tanihara, who is already exempt for The Open.
American Seungsu Han (66) and Malaysian Gavin Green (66) are also in contention and take up the three remaining qualifying spots going into Friday.
Scott, who himself sits at two-under-par after completing 16 holes, praised the inclusion of The SMBC Singapore Open to the Series stating that it allowed players from across the world to better compete for a place at The Open.
The 38-year-old, who came agonisingly close to lifting the Claret Jug at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2012, missing a putt at the 72nd hole to force a play-off with eventual winner Ernie Els (also in the field at The SMBC Singapore Open this week) said, “It’s a nice initiative that The R&A have done with The Open.
“They’ve recognized that all around the world on the different Tours there are some really fantastic players and they deserve the opportunity to be at The Open.”
Scott, who is already exempt for The Open through his Masters Tournament victory in 2013, continued, “In the old days it was tough – the travel and costs for going for a round or two of qualifying were prohibited to some. So, that’s a smart move, and I think it’s giving a little something else to this event.”
Two-time Champion Golfer of the Year Ernie Els, exempt for Royal Birkdale as a result of his famous victories at Muirfield (2002) and the aforementioned Royal Lytham & St Annes (2012), finished the day on two-over-par having completed 16 holes.
The South African welcomed the chance for players to qualify for The Open this week in Singapore through The Open Qualifying Series.
“I think it’s great – it gives a bit more pizazz to the event and there’s more to play for,” said Els,
“The Open Championship caters to the whole world and I’m sure it’s the biggest field in the world, so being able to qualify through playing certain events is great and just gives you a better incentive.”