"To qualify for The Open is unreal"
Four additional players have qualified for The 147th Open following last weekend’s SMBC Singapore Open.
Jazz Janewattananond, Danthai Boonma, Sean Crocker and Lucas Herbert booked their place at Carnoustie this summer after finishing in the top 10 at the third event of the Open Qualifying Series.
Want to get to know them before The Open in July?
Jazz Janewattananond (Thailand)
The 22-year-old from Bangkok has climbed to 134th in the world on the back of his fine showing in Singapore. A tie for fourth place is one of the best results on the Asian Tour for Janewattananond and bagging a spot at Carnoustie is the result of years of hard toil. The child prodigy turned professional at only 15 back in 2010 – and before that had become the youngest player ever to make a cut on the Asian Tour.
All that promise is now coming good for the 22-year-old – whose real name is Atiwit but is known as Jazz due to his father’s fondness for that genre of music. And European golf fans better get used to seeing Janewattananond as he earned his 2018 European Tour Card through Q School last year. Formerly a competitive swimmer before turning his attentions to golf, Janewattananond has already proven he can keep his head above water. “It is a dream come true to be playing The Open. I can’t wait to be there,” he said afterwards.
Danthai Boonma (Thailand)
Danthai Boonma has idolised the great Tiger Woods ever since he was a child. And now he will get the chance to meet, and potentially tee it up with his hero at Carnoustie after his strong finish in Singapore. The 21-year-old Boonma has long been earmarked as a player to watch on the Asian Tour. Hailing from Phitsanulok, the current world No.253 was a double gold medallist at the South East Asia Games as an amateur back in 2012.
Having turned pro in 2014, Boonma already has three Tour wins to his name and in 2016 racked up four Top 10s including a runners-up finish at the Bank BRI-JCB Indonesia Open. The key to Boonma’s Open qualification was his third round 65 in Singapore – reproduce that form this summer in July and there’s no telling how far he could go in his maiden major. “I am very happy and proud of qualifying for The Open, which is my first major championship. I am looking forward to the challenge and experience of playing Carnoustie,” he said.
Sean Crocker (USA)
When you have a former Champion Golfer of the Year as your mentor – life is always going to be a little easier. And Sean Crocker will not be short of advice from the great Nick Price before he tees it up at Carnoustie in July. Price has mentored Crocker ever since they first met back in 2003 and the three-time major champion clearly likes what he sees. Sporting success runs in the family for the 21-year-old – who is the son of Gary Crocker a former Test cricketer from Zimbabwe. But after the family emigrated to California, the son turned his hand to golf – and what a fine decision that has proved to be.
Still only 21, Crocker is a three-time All-American and the 2015 US Amateur Championship semi-finalist who only turned pro this past autumn. Now up to 540 in the world, Crocker tied for seventh at the Australian PGA Championship back in December. And his four birdies in his final round of 69 were enough to buy him a ticket to the big dance at Carnoustie in July. “To qualify for The Open is unreal, it’s something you dream of. To play in your first major is the coolest thing ever. I remember Tiger Woods winning The Open back in the day, the one thing you always did was tune in when it was on.”
Lucas Herbert (Australia)
And then there were eight. Lucas Herbert becomes the eighth Australian to secure a spot at Carnoustie and the 22-year-old appears to be coming of age at last. The big hitter from Bendigo has really caught the eye in recent months – he bagged top ten finishes at both the Australian Open and the Australian PGA at the back end of last year. And he has carried that form onto the Asian Tour including Singapore where he secured his spot at The Open – despite a nervous wait as Berry Henson missed a putt on the 18th that would have denied him.
Australia and The Open have a lot of history, and Herbert will be joining the likes of Jason Day, Adam Scott and Marc Leishman in Scotland this summer. Not to mention Cameron Davis who overhauled Herbert before Christmas at the Australian Open to bag his own spot as part of the ongoing Open Qualifying Series. But it will not be entirely new ground for Herbert, the world No.226.
“I played Carnoustie at The Amateur Championship so I’ve seen the course in tournament conditions,” he said. “It’s really tough but I took away a lot experience of playing there and I’ll look to draw upon that. I remember watching Padraig Harrington winning The Open after the play-off and Sergio just missing that putt just before. Those were my first memories of watching The Open.”