The 148th Open: Three amateurs among 12 Final Qualifiers for Royal Portrush
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 02/07/19 10:00pm
Three amateurs were among 12 players to book their places at The 148th Open after Final Qualifying on Tuesday.
The day began with 288 players bidding for just 12 places in the field at Royal Portrush later this month, with three places up for grabs over 36 holes at the four venues in England and Scotland.
World amateur No 6 Brandon Wu cruised to a three-shot win at Fairmont St Andrews, where local favourites Connor Syme and Sam Locke also made it through, while Curtis Knipes led the way at Prince's in Kent and was one of eight Englishmen to qualify for the final major of the year.
But there was late disappointment for five-time European Tour winner and former Ryder Cup star David Howell, who bogeyed the final hole at Prince's when a par would have put him through to a sudden-death play-off with Canada's Austin Connelly.
Knipes, a lowly 364th in the amateur world rankings, emerged as a surprise joint-winner along with established European Tour professional Callum Shinkwin as both topped the leaderboard on nine under par.
Shinkwin's seven-under 65 was the low score of the second round, while Connelly snatched the third and final Open place thanks to a late eagle at the 15th in his afternoon 66.
The Canadian finished a stroke ahead of Howell, who was denied a 15th Open appearance, and his first since 2016, when he carded only his third bogey of the day at the final hole to slip into a tie for fourth with first-round leader Julian Suri.
Fairmont St Andrews
American amateur Wu, who enjoyed a strong performance at the US Open last month, was in a class of his own in Scotland as high-quality rounds of 64 and 67 saw him finish comfortably clear of the field on nine under par.
Get the best prices and book a round at one of 1,700 courses across the UK & Ireland
Wu will be joined at Portrush by 2016 Amateur Championship winner Syme, who fired a pair of 67s to claim outright second, with Locke adding a 67 to his opening 69 to secure the third and final Open place by a two-shot margin.
St Annes Old Links
English duo Garrick Porteous and Jack Senior both fired back-to-back 67s to lead the qualifiers on 10 under par, finishing one ahead of compatriot Matthew Baldwin.
The 33-year-old Baldwin birdied the final hole to book his second appearance at The Open as he edged out another amateur, Callum Blinkhorn, Steven Tiley and James Whatley, while Mat Fitzpatrick's brother Alex missed out on six under.
Ashton Turner became the 12th and final qualifier for The 148th Open in near-darkness after edging out David Coupland in the only play-off of the day.
Turner, who also came through Final Qualifying to make his Open debut at Carnoustie last year, secured his place at the third extra hole after Coupland three-putted from long range and ran up a double-bogey six.
Andrew Wilson topped the leaderboard on seven under after rounds of 69 and 68, while amateur Thomas Thurloway finished one shot behind before Turner completed a clean sweep for English golfers.