How did last year's OQS Australia qualifiers fare at Carnoustie?
Australia's love affair with The Open was established and fortified by the late Peter Thomson, so it's fitting that the road to The 148th Open should begin Down Under this weekend.
Five-time Champion Golfer of the Year Thomson is the only man in the professional era to win the same major in three successive years – doing so when he lifted the Claret Jug in 1954, 1955 and 1956.
The Aussie, who sadly passed away earlier this year aged 88, clearly saved his best golf for British soil as he went on to become Champion Golfer twice more but was never able to win any other major.
Since Thomson got the ball rolling, only three other golfers have lifted the Claret Jug – Kel Nagle interrupted Thomson’s dominance in 1960 and Greg Norman lifted the trophy in 1986 and 1993, either side of Ian Baker-Finch’s surprise win in 1991.
Australia’s wait for a winner at golf’s oldest major will stretch to 28 years when The Open tees off at Royal Portrush next summer but The Emirates Australian Open presents golfers with an opportunity to change that.
The tournament, which is being played from 15-18 November at The Lakes in Sydney, will be the first opportunity for players to secure their place at Royal Portrush as the maiden event in The Open Qualifying Series 2019.
The leading three players, who finish in the top ten and ties and are not already exempt, will qualify for The 148th Open.
A total of 46 places at The Open are available through The Open Qualifying Series, which provides golfers with opportunities to qualify at events around the world on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Asian Tour, the Korean Tour, the Japan Golf Tour and the Sunshine Tour.
So to warm you up for this weekend’s event, here’s a look at how the three qualifiers from the Emirates Australian Open last year got on at Carnoustie this summer:
Cameron Davis (Aus)
Australia’s own Cameron Davis secured the first qualification spot when he won the Stonehaven Cup by a single stroke last year.
On the prospect of playing The Open he said: “It’s a dream come true – what I’ve worked for my whole life. I’ve played Scottish courses on the amateur circuit and was wondering when I was going to get back there. To get back so soon is awesome. It’s my first major, so I’ve got no idea what to expect – I know it’s going to be huge.”
The 23-year-old managed an impressive tied-39th finish on his Open debut leaving him tied at +2 with the likes of three-time major winner Brooks Koepka by the conclusion of the week.
Davis was consistent at Carnoustie – shooting 71, 72, 73 before carding a superb one-under final round of 70 that included six birdies to finish as the third-highest Aussie on the leader board, after Jason Day and Adam Scott.
Jonas Blixt (Swe)
The Swede finished in a tie for second at the Australian Open to clinch his spot at Carnoustie and make his fourth Open appearance.
Three times a winner on the PGA Tour, Blixt returned to The Open after a two-year absence but never really got going, only registering two birdies in his first two rounds.
A nightmare triple bogey at the 6th on Thursday made it difficult for the 34-year-old to recover and scores of 77 and 76 left his 11-over and meant that he missed the cut by some seven shots.
Matt Jones (Aus)
Matt Jones reduced a huge final day deficit in Sydney, delivering six birdies on the back nine, to finish tied-second with Jonas Blixt.
By doing so the Aussie booked a place at his fourth Open but was unable to emulate the form shown by compatriot, Cameron Davis.
Rounds of 75 and 76 left the 38-year-old nine-over and mean he missed the cut for the first time in his Open career, a far cry from his 30th place finish at St Andrews in 2015.