Richie Ramsay, Ryan Fox and David Drysdale qualify for The 146th Open at Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
Scottish duo Richie Ramsay and David Drysdale and New Zealand's Ryan Fox have qualified for The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale.
Three places were available in golf's most international major championship through The Open Qualifying Series which continued at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open this week.
Drysdale broke the course record by one stroke at Portstewart, carding a nine-under-par 63 to finish tied for fourth place on 17-under-par with Justin Rose, who is already exempt for The Open, Fox and American Daniel Im.
Both Fox and Drysdale hold higher positions in the Official World Golf Ranking than Im and qualify for The Open as a result.
The Scot, who was aiming to make his first appearance in The Open since 2009 at Turnberry, eagled the par five 4th hole to set things in motion before mixing two birdies with a couple of bogeys on the remainder of the front nine.
It was on the inward stretch that the two-time Challenge Tour winner made a surge up the leaderboard, entertaining the galleries with eight consecutive birdies in a remarkable scoring streak to come home in 29, eight-under-par.
“I think it’s amazing. I regard The Open as the biggest and best championship on the planet”, said Drysdale following his record round.
“I’ve only played once, in 2009 at Turnberry, and as a golfer you only want to play in the biggest and best events. I haven’t played Royal Birkdale so I’m looking forward to playing there in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Ramsay was in similar form during today's final round and the three-time European Tour winner posted a seven-under-par 65 to take his place with the world's greatest golfers at Royal Birdkdale later this month.
The former number one on the WORLD AMATEUR GOLF RANKING™ opened up with three birdies on the front nine and despite a bogey on the 10th, went on to pick up an eagle and four further birdies during the back nine.
He finished in tie for second place on 18-under-par alongside Matthew Southgate, who booked his place at Royal Birkdale after coming through Final Qualifying last week. The pair finished six shots behind winner Jon Rahm, who is also exempt for The Open.
“The Open is a special event and it’s going to be fantastic”, said Ramsay.
“Royal Birkdale really suits me and I love playing there. I remember playing at The Amateur there and it’s just a great set-up.
“You want to test your game against the best players in the world and I was fortunate enough to do that this week. It’s going to be even better at The Open and the way I’m playing at the moment, who knows.”
It was third time lucky for Fox after he narrowly missed out on qualifying for The Open at the Emirates Australian Open late last year and the HNA Open de France last week.
Despite starting with a bogey on the 1st, the New Zealander was blemish-free for the remainder of his round, rolling in five birdies to sign off for a four-under-par 68.
“I’m ecstatic”, enthused Fox. “Third time lucky, I just missed out last week in France, and I missed out on world rankings at the Australian Open at the start of The Open Qualifying Series so I’m very, very happy to get the job done this week.
“It was a great golf course this week and a lot of fun to play. I’m sure Birkdale might play a bit tougher than what we’ve got this week. I haven’t played a lot of links golf in my career, I managed to play an Open at St Andrews a couple of years ago and I loved the experience of playing links golf. I’m looking forward to the opportunity again.”