Sergio Garcia to miss first Open Championship in 25 years

Sergio Garcia will miss The Open Championship for the first time since 1997 after falling just short at Final Qualifying at West Lancashire. 

The Spaniard mixed seven birdies with two bogeys during an opening-round 67 on Tuesday morning, leaving him well-placed to make a 25th consecutive appearance at The Open, only to slip down the leaderboard with a second-round 71 to leave him three strokes outside the qualification spots in tied-sixth.

“Obviously I am a little disappointed right now but that’s the game of golf and you can’t take things for granted,” said Garcia. “I’m very thankful that I’ve been able to play 25 Open Championships, that’s not an easy task to achieve.

“I wanted to keep that run going, but unfortunately I couldn’t do it today. I love the game of golf, I love playing, I love competing and I love playing majors. It doesn’t matter if you then play them well or not, but just to be part of them is always a treat and I’ve been fortunate to play many throughout my career.”

A total of 19 players players from a starting field of 288 across secured their places in golf’s original championship at events held at Dundonald, Royal Cinque Ports, Royal Porthcawl and West Lancashire.

West Lancashire 

Recent PGA Tour winner Matthew Wallace the pick of the bunch in Final Qualifying as the Englishman delivered a strong performance at West Lancashire to book his spot at Hoylake.

He was followed by Matthew Jordan, Kyle Barker, Alex Fitzpatrick and Tiger Christensen in qualifying from West Lancashire. For Jordan, that means a dream Open appearance at his home club where he has been a member since the age of 7.

“It’s brilliant, I was just telling someone over there that I’ve been a member at Royal Liverpool since I was seven,” said Jordan.

“So it did matter more than the previous times I’ve tried to qualify, even though it’s brilliant, it has that sentimental value.”

Royal Porthcawl

Laurie Canter led the qualifiers at Royal Porthcawl on an eight-under-par total of 134, four shots clear of Brandon Robinson Thompson, who will make his debut in The Open after a first round 66 set the foundation for a second place finish.

Matthew Southgate fired in a last-gasp birdie to seal the third qualifying place on two-under-par, which will see the Englishman return to the venue in which he made his Open debut in 2014.

A play-off looked likely but Oliver Bekker’s double bogey at the last meant that Jazz Janewattananond and Oliver Farr secured the two remaining qualifying spots on one-under-par.

Royal Cinque Ports 

Thomas Detry will make his third appearance at The Open

South African Martin Rohwer and Thomas Detry of Belgium each recorded rounds of 72 and 69 for a three-under-par total of 141 to claim the first two qualifying positions at Royal Cinque Ports.

Rohwer, 29, will make his Major Championship debut in The 151st Open whilst Detry, 30, will make his third appearance.

LIV Golf duo Branden Grace, who shot a record low round 62 at Royal Birkdale in 2017, and Charl Shwartzel, whose best performance in The Open came at Royal Liverpool in 2014, also qualified on two-under-par 142. Joining them is Antoine Rozner, who will play in the Championship for the second time after qualifying on the same mark with two rounds of 71.

Dundonald

Connor McKinney secured his place with a birdie on the second play-off hole

Local favourite Michael Stewart led the qualifiers at Dundonald to secure his debut in The Open after carding an excellent six-under-par second round 66.

The 33-year-old, who hails from nearby Irvine and plays on the European Challenge Tour, followed up on his opening round of 71 to make a late surge through the field with four birdies in his last five holes to finish on a five-under-par total of 137, two clear of England’s Marco Penge.

The final two places were decided in a three-way play-off. Scottish-born Australian Connor McKinney secured his place with a birdie on the second play-off hole (the 11th) and Graeme Robertson holed from almost 40ft to edge out his fellow Scot Craig Ross on the fifth play-off hole (the 11th again).

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