Oliver Wilson delighted to book place in field for 148th Open
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 09/12/18 4:11pm
Oliver Wilson can look forward to making a sixth Open appearance next year after booking one of the three places on offer at the South African Open.
Wilson closed with a six-birdie 67 at Randpark to finish in a tie for third at Randpark GC, although he feared his bogey at the 72nd hole would cost him the chance to tee up at Royal Portrush in the final major of 2019 next July.
But his score of 10 under was enough to secure a place in the field at the 148th Open along with Romain Langasque and Charl Schwartzel, although all three were unable to keep pace with runaway winner and 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen on the final day.
Wilson has played the majority of his golf on the Challenge Tour over the last two seasons and missed the cut at the Final Stage of Qualifying School last month, but his performance in Johannesburg has lifted his spirits going into the New Year.
"I'm delighted," said the former European Ryder Cup star. "It wasn't really something I was thinking about going out there today. We had tough conditions again but I played lovely and obviously coming down the stretch you realise what position you're in.
"I was pleased to sneak in and get this Open spot because I bogeyed the last hole and I thought it was going to cost me the spot.
"This is quite big to know that you're in The Open at this stage of the year. It's great that I can have something that I'm really looking forward to. I managed to get in last year, and it's where you want to be. You never want to miss The Open.
"The Open is the best one there is. I played it this last year but I hadn't played it for a few years. Coming back and seeing what is was like at Carnoustie, the infrastructure there, and knowing the eyes of the whole world are on the tournament.
"You want to be there, everything about it and the way that it was run was fantastic, so to qualify and get in there is nice."
Schwartzel endured a disappointing weekend in his national Open having led at the halfway stage, but securing his place at Royal Portrush was ample consolation for the 2011 Masters champion.
"I was hoping to do better in this tournament but I'm still happy that I get to play The Open in Northern Ireland which will be really nice," he said.
"Watching Ernie's last win and when Tiger won at Hoylake are two of my best memories of The Open, and obviously when my good friend Louis won at St Andrews.
"It's special. There's so much history behind it and it would be nice to have my name on the trophy one day."
The next event in The Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club from 17-20 January, 2019.