Ryan Fox and Brandt Snedeker secure places for 147th Open
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 09/07/18 2:47pm
Ryan Fox gained consolation from his play-off defeat to Russell Knox at Ballyliffin as his performance earned him a place in the field for The 147th Open next week.
Fox lost out to two moments of brilliance from Knox on the 18th green in a dramatic finish to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, the Scot holing a magnificent 40-foot putt for birdie in regulation before nailing another from the same range on the first extra hole.
The New Zealander, whose father is former All Blacks rugby legend Grant Fox, had a great chance to wrap up his maiden European Tour title as he lined up a birdie putt from inside 10 feet to win in regulation, but the chance slipped by the hole as he finished tied at the top on 14 under with Knox.
And, after Knox had drained his huge birdie effort back on the 18th green, Fox lipped out from eight feet as he settled for his best finish as a professional, and he can now look forward to his third appearance in The Open at Carnoustie.
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"I really enjoy playing in The Open and Carnoustie is one of the best courses in the world," said Fox. "I'm excited to get there and a little bit nervous to see how it plays but I'm very much looking forward to it.
"It's always nice to play links golf in the run-up to an Open and I love the challenge of it. The rough might be a bit more difficult than Ballyliffin, so we'll see what the conditions are like when we get to Carnoustie."
Fox will be joined in the field by Andy Sullivan and Zander Lombard, who secured the other two Open places on offer at Ballyliffin as both closed with 69s to finish in a tie for sixth place - five strokes adrift of the top two.
"It's massive to have qualified and play in your home major," said Sullivan, who posted a top-12 finish at Royal Troon two years ago before going on to make his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine. "Carnoustie is a course I love so it's fantastic to get there and The Open is very special.
"After playing both the Irish and Scottish Opens we'll be well prepared for links golf by the time we get to Carnoustie. I'm sure it will be a tough test but it's always been a favourite course of mine so I'm looking forward to it."
Meanwhile, Brandt Snedeker booked a ninth Open appearance after his final-round 64 in the A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier earned him a share of third place.
Snedeker, whose best Open finish is a tie for third at Royal Lytham in 2012, qualified for the third major of the year along with Kelly Kraft, Jason Kokrak and Austin Cook.
There are four further places for The Open up for grabs this week, with three going to the leading non-exempt players who finish in the top 10 and ties at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, and another to the leading top-five finisher at the John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour.