The Open Qualifying Series
Last-chance saloon
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Final four spots at Royal Portrush up for grabs

152 down – four to go.

The world’s best golfers will be teeing off at The 148th Open in just a week’s time and after months of players battling to earning their spot at Royal Portrush, there are just four places left.

Three men from the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and one man from the John Deere Classic will complete the 156-strong field headed for Northern Ireland.

Those tournaments serve as the 12th and 13th events of The Open Qualifying Series, which began way back in November 2018 when Abraham Ancer and Dimitros Papadatos secured their spots via the Emirates Australian Open.

And eight months on, those players not yet exempt for The 148th Open will be in the last-chance saloon on both sides of the Atlantic just days before the opening tee shot is struck at the Dunluce Links.

Renaissance calling

Just a short hop across the Irish Sea from Portrush, the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open will provide a gateway to Northern Ireland for a trio of golfers.

Three players who finish in the top ten and ties at the end of Sunday’s fourth round, who are not already exempt, will earn their spot at The 148th Open.

In the event of a tie for a qualifying place, the player with the higher ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) at the beginning of the week commencing 8 July will be awarded a place.

It’s a star-studded field at The Renaissance Club, as 57 men who are already exempt – including former Champion Golfers of the Year Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Paul Lawrie and Henrik Stenson – will tee off, looking to hone their game ahead of The Open.

Twelve months ago at the Scottish Open at Gullane, Brandon Stone, Eddie Pepperell and Jens Dantorp all qualified for Carnoustie – with Pepperell memorably going on to finish in a tie for sixth at The 147th Open.

A number of men will be hoping to emulate the Englishman this year, including Martin Kaymer – the 2010 PGA Championship and 2014 US Open winner whose 11-year streak of qualifying for every major will end unless he can secure one of the three spots on offer.

The likes of talented Frenchman Victor Perez, young Belgian Thomas Detry, Malaysian star Gavin Green and local boy Grant Forrest – who came second in Final Qualifying at Renaissance in 2017 – will also be looking to earn their ticket to Portrush.

Last man in

Once the Scottish Open qualifiers are decided, there will be one solitary place left in the field at The 148th Open – which will be filled by someone from the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run.

The leading player who finishes in the top five and ties, who is not already exempt, will earn the final spot at Royal Portrush.

In the event of a tie for a qualifying place, the player with the higher ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) at the beginning of the week commencing 8 July will be awarded a place.

There are 14 men in the field in Illinois who are already exempt, including Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson, who were Champion Golfer of the Year in 2009 and 2015 respectively.

Last year, Michael Kim blitzed the field to become the last man in at Carnoustie and he will look to replicate that performance this year – although 17 straight missed cuts since then don’t hint at much form.

Young stars who have impressed on the PGA Tour in recent weeks such as Matthew Wolff, Collin Morikawa and 2018 US Amateur champion Viktor Hovland – who forfeited his exemption when he turned professional – will also have designs on securing that invaluable place on the Dunluce Links.

Whoever ultimately does come out on top, once the John Deere Classic is done, the field for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush will finally be set.

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