Subscribe
Font Size
Join our Mailing List
DailyPulse
Home The stage is set for Muirfield

American Brooks Koepka will make his debut in The Open Championship at Muirfield next month after winning International Final Qualifying Europe at Sunningdale. The 23-year-old Floridian led the nine qualifiers from IFQ Europe after rounds of 69 and 65 left him with a 5-under-par total of 134. He finished one shot clear of England’s Oliver Fisher and two of Spain’s Alvaro Quiros, Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, Richard McEvoy from England and Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin who all have qualified for The Open. Sweden’s Niclas Fasth and Scott Jamieson from Scotland also secured spots at Muirfield.

Estanislao Goya took the final spot after a four-man play-off with Ross Fisher, David Drysdale, and Alejandro Canizares. Fischer and Drysdale, who had earlier missed a 2ft putt on the 15th and lipped out from 20ft on the 17th in his second round, were eliminated after taking bogey fives on the 1st hole of the New Course. 

Fresh from securing his European Tour card by winning his third Challenge Tour event of the year at the Scottish Hydro Challenge at the weekend, Koepka showed no signs of fatigue as he maintained his form over the Old and New courses at Sunningdale. A round of six birdies and five bogeys on the Old Course in the morning paved the way for him. His afternoon round on the New Course saw him card birdies on the 5th, 6th, 12th, where he holed from 30ft, 13th and 17th, where he rolled it in from 25ft. Having managed only two hours’ sleep before taking a 6.30am flight from Scotland, Koepka said he was tired but delighted to have qualified for golf’s oldest Major Championship.

“It was a long day,” he said. “I was in a lot of heather and I kind of felt like I was in it all day.  I didn’t hit it that great but I just tried to relax and hang in there. I putted really well and made some key putts on the second 18. It’s awesome to play in The Open, it’s what you prepare your game to play in. Any Major is special but The Open is up there. Everybody wants to win it.”

Goya said it was “a dream come true” to be teeing it up at Muirfield next month. “I can’t believe it,” said the 25-year-old Argentinian. “I started the year not very good so to be able to play my second Major of the year is something hard to describe. 

Bourdy spoke of his determination to complete some unfinished business for French golf at this year’s Open venue. “Muirfield is my favorite links course and one of the best courses I have ever played. I have practiced there a few times and it is in wonderful condition. The French have some good memories of Muirfield. We didn’t win with Thomas Levet, he lost in a play-off after finishing tied for first with Ernie Els, so the French have to come back and try to do their best.”

Levet was among those who failed to qualify from the 96-man starting field, finishing on 1-over-par. First round leader Tom Lewis, stumbled to a 6-over-par 75 in his second round, nine shots worse than his morning total, to finish on 2-over-par, while England’s Graeme Storm, a two-time winner of this event, slipped to a 78 in the second round for a 6-over-par total. Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley and his predecessor Jose Maria Olazabal both missed out after finishing on 4-over-par totals of 143.

For the full leaderboard from IFQ Europe visit TheOpen.com.