Julian Suri, Russell Knox and Marcus Kinhult Qualify for The 147th Open
Julian Suri, Russell Knox and Marcus Kinhult sealed spots in The 147th Open after a dramatic closing day at the HNA Open de France at Le Golf National.
The HNA Open de France was the sixth event in The Open Qualifying Series, giving the leading three non-exempt players who finished in the top ten and ties the chance to earn places at Carnoustie from 15-22 July 2018.
Sweden’s Alex Noren took the title, but with American Suri and Scotsman Knox eventually finishing in a three-way tie for runner-up and another Swede, Kinhult, finished tied for fifth place, the trio will now tee up over the famous Scottish links.
The course close to Paris, which will host September’s Ryder Cup between Europe and the United States, served up drama as Noren secured his 10th European Tour crown.
Suri, who tied for the top in Final Qualifying for The Open at Gailes Links last summer to make his Open debut at Royal Birkdale, was chasing his second European Tour win. The 27-year-old surged to the lead after playing 14 holes in five-under-par only to find water at the last for a double bogey and settle for the share of second on six-under-par, a stroke behind Noren.
“It’s nice. It will be my second Major Championship after my first last year at The Open at Royal Birkdale. It will nice to be back, I enjoy playing links golf, playing in those conditions as it really tests every part of your game – similar to the challenge this week. I’m excited to get going, I’ve got a couple of good weeks ahead of me. These next two weeks (Ireland and Scotland on the European Tour) are going to be great preparation, a lot of short game shots and battling the conditions which I think is the biggest part of playing links golf. It will be a great few weeks.”
In the European Tour’s third Rolex Series event of 2018, Knox made his surge through the field with four birdies in a row from the eighth on his way to a superb six-under 65 to tie with Suri and England’s Chris Wood. The US-based Scot, 33, who grew up on the links of Nairn Dunbar, will make his fourth consecutive appearance in The Open.
“This was one of the huge goals coming over here, to try and play my way in (to The Open). I’m thrilled. Obviously, you don’t want to miss an Open Championship in Scotland being a Scot so job done. I’ve only played Carnoustie a couple of times, a long time ago. To be honest, I don’t know much about it other than it is extremely difficult. Obviously, I have watched previous Open Championships there and know the history, Paul Lawrie winning which was cool. I can’t wait, it’s going to be fun.
“I love links golf. Growing up, my home club Nairn Dunbar is a links course. I see that style of game along the ground a lot more than most guys that are based in the US. I’m playing well and coming into form. I just need that big push in the summer to move up.”
Kinhult, 21, held a two-stroke lead overnight, but a triple bogey seven at the fourth and a double bogey at the 15th ended his hopes of a maiden European Tour triumph. However, the former Lytham Trophy winner battled hard for a share of fifth place for a fifth top-20 finish of the season.
“It’s going be a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to it. I played The Amateur Championship at Carnoustie in 2015 so I know the course. The coming two weeks is going to be firm and windy, I guess, Ballyliffin and Gullane, so that’s good preparation. Those events take on more significance now that I’m going to The Open."
The 147th Open takes place at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus, from 15-22 July and you can be there to witness history by securing your ticket at TheOpen.com/Tickets.