Aussie trio qualify for 2014 Open Championship
Sydney’s Matt Jones missed a three-metre putt on the 18th on Sunday that would have sealed a ticket to the 2014 British Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Jones may yet qualify elsewhere, but his miss ensured 29-year-old Rhein Gibson, ranked 998th in the world, can pack his bags for his first major championship after earning one of three spots on offer at the Emirates Australian Open at Royal Sydney.
John Senden (Credit: Anthony Powter)
Gibson, who famously shot 55 for 18 holes in the United States last year, finished in a tie for fourth and joined fellow Aussies John Senden (third) and Bryden Macpherson (tied fourth) in securing the three Open Championship spots on offer at the Australian event.
The winner, Rory McIlroy and runner-up Adam Scott had already qualified for the Open so the battle for the three spots was on in earnest as the R&A introduced a new-look qualifying format for the Open this year.
The series now takes in 14 events in nine countries on five continents as players on the world’s leading Tours chase qualifying spots at Royal Liverpool from July 13-20, 2014.
“This means the world to me to play in my first major,” said Gibson.
“That’s what we all want to do – play majors and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
“The Open means so much with all the history of the Australians who have played in it and it tests every facet of your game. I can’t wait.”
Macpherson, a former leading amateur matched Gibson’s final round three-under-par 69 to earn his second shot at a British Open.
The 23-year-old from Melbourne won the 2011 British Amateur Championship and played in The Open that year at Royal St George’s as well as in the 2012 US Masters.
“Today’s a great day. I played well today and all week really,” said Macpherson.
“The Open was amazing the first time I played in at Royal St George’s.”
“I played quite well and I think links golf sets up very well for me.”
“The Open is golf, it’s where it all began in Scotland. It is golf at its purest and you can’t beat that.”