Sergio Garcia headed to Merseyside on Tuesday to keep his incredible appearance streak at The Open going, but a second-round 71 meant the Spaniard didn’t earn a place at Hoylake
Former Masters champion Sergio Garcia has failed to qualify for The Open Championship for the first time since 1997.
Garcia traveled to West Lancashire on Merseyside to compete in Final Open Qualifying on Tuesday, but rounds of 67 and 71 weren’t enough to secure a spot at Royal Liverpool next month.
His morning round of five-under-par put him in a good spot, but the Spaniard finished three shots shy of the nine-under 36-hole mark that proved enough to qualify.
“I felt like I had it early on. I was rolling it nicely,” Garcia said. “I got a pretty bad break on hole 7 in the afternoon and that stopped my momentum a little bit.
“It was tough to get going but I gave it everything I had and unfortunately, it was a little short.
“I was thinking eight-under might get to a playoff. I was trying to get to 10-under, thinking that should be enough. The weather got better as the day went on, so it made it a little bit easier.
“I’ve always felt very blessed for the love I get everywhere in the world, but even more here in the UK and to see the kind of crowds we had for a British Open qualifier was pretty impressive.”
Four-time DP World Tour winner Matt Wallace finished top of the pile on 11-under after a second-round 65 and Matthew Jordan finished tied second with Kyle Barker on 10-under.
Jordan has been a member at Hoylake since the age of seven which only increased his delight to qualify for golf’s oldest major next month.
“It’s brilliant – My dad is a member, and my grandad’s been a member. I know everyone there and all my friends that I play with.
“It did matter more than the previous times I’ve tried to qualify for this. It is brilliant, I don’t want to take away anything from it, it just has that sentimental value.
“I realised it was getting close when all the members started asking me – ‘When is it?’ I knew it was coming a month or two in advance, and I prepared for it and for this stretch.
“I wanted to give myself the best chance to do it because that was certainly one of the goals, and thankfully it was now.”
Alex Fitzpatrick, brother of former US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, made his first Open with an afternoon surge of 65 to reach 9-under for the day.
German amateur Tiger Christensen carded rounds of 68 and 67 to tie Fitzpatrick and seal the fifth spot on offer in Liverpool.
Away from West Lancashire, Matthew Southgate’s phenomenal record at Final Qualifying continued when he got through at Royal Porthcawl.
Twice a top-20 finisher at The Open, he posted a two-under-par total to finish in third place and come through qualifying for the fourth time.
Southgate has previously been successful at Sunningdale in 2014 and at Royal Cinque Ports in 2016 and 2017. Laurie Canter blitzed through his back nine on his way to a second-round 65, an eight-under total, and claimed the medal by four shots from Brandon Robinson Thompson.
Jazz Janewattananond and Oliver Farr also booked their berths at Hoylake. But there was misery for Oliver Bekker, whose triple on the last capped a horrendous back nine of 43 and a second-round 77. A par would have got him into a playoff.
Branden Grace posted 62 at The Open at Royal Birkdale in 2017 – the first time the number had been seen in a men’s major championship and a low score that was matched by Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele last month at the US Open.
The South African joined countryman Charl Schwartzel, Antoine Rozner, Thomas Detry, and Martin Rohwer in qualifying following a tight day of scoring at Royal Cinque Ports.
Rohwer and Detry tied at the top at three-under with Grace, Schwartzel, and Rozner all at two-under to make up the five who progressed from the Kent course.
Marco Penge got through qualifying for the second year in a row after shooting 65 in his second round at Dundonald Links.
His five-under total, following a first-round 74, was enough to secure second spot at the Ayrshire course, as Michael Stewart’s rounds of 71 and 66 (7 under) gave him medallist honours.
Connor McKinney, Craig Ross, and Graeme Robertson went to a playoff for the final two places, with McKinney – following a birdie at the second playoff hole – and Robertson – after a birdie at the 5th extra hole – coming through.
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