05 Jul 2023 | Professional golf |
McKinney is 10th Australian into Open field
by Martin Blake
Another Australian has been added to the field for the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool later this month with Perth’s Connor McKinney playing his way through qualifying.
McKinney, 21, birdied the second playoff hole at Dundonald Links in Ayrshire, Scotland, to grab a place in what will be his first-ever major championship.
The Open is at Royal Liverpool in a fortnight, with 10 Australians (and two New Zealanders) already exempt and in the field.
The Joondalup product and Golf Australia Rookie Squad member shot 3-under par over 36 holes on Tuesday at Dundonald to finish tied-third overall, and a three-man playoff was held to eliminate one player.
McKinney was the only Australian of 15 who passed through final qualifying on Tuesday.
Nineteen players from a starting field of 288 across secured their places in golf’s original championship at events held at Dundonald, Royal Cinque Ports, Royal Porthcawl and West Lancashire.
“To play in golf’s oldest championship as your first major and having grown up watching The Open – I have been to a few watching all the great names coming through and having been to St Andrews a bunch - is pretty special,” said the Western Australian. “It’s something I have always dreamed of. You don’t really know when it’s going to happen I guess. You have to envision it but it’s a pretty surreal feeling to be sure.
“It’s a double whammy. It’s not easy. I managed to scrape a good enough round in the Regional Qualifying and then hung in all day today and got a few putts and did what I had to do.”
McKinney was the 2022 Australian Amateur champion and spent some years in the High Performance programs of Golf WA and also represented Australia.
He was born in Scotland but moved to Australia with his family when he was 12.
The 12 Australasian players in the Open field are: Connor McKinney, Min Woo Lee, Adam Scott, Daniel Hillier (NZ), Ryan Fox (NZ), Haydn Barron, Harrison Crowe, David Micheluzzi, Jason Day, Lucas Herbert, Travis Smyth and defending champion Cameron Smith. Another Kiwi Mike Hendry qualified for the Open, but has withdrawn because of illness.
There are more spots in the Open field available via the Scottish Open on the DP World Tour next week.
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