Thriston Lawrence expressed his delight at fulfilling "a lifelong dream" after he, Zander Lombard and Ashley Chesters all booked their places in The 150th Open at St Andrews.
Lawrence led the three qualifiers from the Joburg Open on Saturday, the South African winning by four on 12 under after carding back-to-back-65s in a tournament shortened to 36 holes.
“It’s a lifelong dream that’s come true,” said an ecstatic Lawrence.
“I’ve never played in a major before and to play your first one at St Andrews is unbelievable.
“I can’t wait, I’m so excited. From a young age, it was a goal of mine and it’s unbelievable to achieve it.”
The Joburg Open had already been reduced to 54 holes to allow non-South African resident players, caddies and tournament support staff to return to their home countries, with international travel restrictions imposed on the country after the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant.
A thunderstorm then forced a lengthy suspension shortly after the leaders had teed off in Saturday’s third round and, with no prospect of play being completed, a result was declared based on 36-hole scores.
Lawrence will be joined at St Andrews by compatriot Lombard, who claimed second on eight under, and Chesters, the Englishman having tied for third with the already-exempt Shaun Norris.
“The opportunity to play in The 150th Open at the Home of Golf, you can’t dream of bigger things than that,” said Lombard, who has played in golf’s original Championship on three previous occasions.
Chesters will be playing in his third Open and he excelled when finishing tied-12th as an amateur at St Andrews in 2015.
“It’s going to be very exciting to play in The 150th Open,” he said.
“I played at St Andrews as an amateur in 2015 and I did quite well that year, which was really nice, but I did say at the time that it would be good to go back there as a professional so I’m really happy and excited. I know the course very well so hopefully that will give me a chance come July.”