Kelly Kraft, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Kokrak and Austin Cook Qualify for The 147th Open in the United States
Kelly Kraft, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Kokrak and Austin Cook secured their places in The 147th Open at Carnoustie following the final round of A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier in the United States.
A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier was the tenth event in The Open Qualifying Series, giving the leading four non-exempt players who finished in the top 12 and ties the chance to earn places at Carnoustie from 15-22 July 2018.
The PGA TOUR event was won by Kevin Na, who is already exempt for The Open, on a 19-under-par total of 261 after the 34-year-old carded a final round 64 which included seven birdies.
Kraft will make his debut in The Open after finishing in second place five strokes back on 14-under-par, a total of 266. The 29-year-old, who held the joint lead overnight with Harold Varner III, played steady golf throughout his final round, mixing three birdies with three bogeys to post a level par 70. “It’s awesome to have qualified for The Open as I’ve never played in it before. I’ve not played links golf since the Walker Cup in 2011, it’s a different style of golf and it will be fun" said Kraft. “I have heard Carnoustie is a heck of a golf course and is one of the tougher venues for The Open. I’ve never played it before so I will need time to prepare and figure out the course when I get there" he added.
The second and third qualifying places were secured by Snedeker and Kokrak who finished in a tie for third place on a 13-under-par total of 267 to book their places at Carnoustie.
Snedeker posted a superb six-under-par round of 64 to ensure he will start in The Open for the first time since 2015 when he played at St Andrews. The American’s best finish in golf’s original championship came at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2012 when he finished tied for third place. “I’m really excited to be playing in The Open. I played Carnoustie during college and I also had the privilege of competing in The Amateur Championship there too" said Snedeker.“I know it will be a tough test but I love these hard tests and particularly the challenge of Carnoustie. Hopefully it will bring out the best in me and I am looking forward to it" he added.
Kokrak signed off for a final round 67, three-under-par, which included four birdies and the 33-year-old will make his first appearance in The Open when he lines up alongside the world’s best golfers in the starting field at Carnoustie. “It’s my first Open Championship and it gives me goose bumps just talking about. I’m loving the prospect of going over to Carnoustie to compete in The Open and I think I can play pretty well in what will be a great atmosphere" said Kokrak.
Four players were left tied for fifth place on 12-under-par and it was Cook who pipped Joel Dahmen, Sam Saunders and Varner III to the final qualifying spot courtesy of his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking. The 27-year-old fired in five birdies during a bogey-free front nine, only for a double bogey on the 11th to check his stride. However, three further birdies on the 12th, 14th and 17th ensured that the 2018 RSM Classic champion will make his debut in The Open. “It’s amazing to get into The Open and it’s an awesome feeling. I was worried watching the final players coming down the stretch but I’m into The Open now and I’m looking forward to it" said Cook.