World Cup winners in Open qualifier in East Lothian
World Cup winners Marc Warren and Soren Kjeldsen will be among the hopefuls at The Renaissance Club next Tuesday as the East Lothian venue stages an Open final qualifying event for the first time.
Also taking part in the 36-hole shoot-out for three spots in the Claret Jug joust at Carnoustie next month are Americans Julian Suri, Harold Varner and Chase Koepka, as well as recent Shot Clock Masters runner-up Connor Syme.
Warren won the World Cup in the company of Colin Montgomerie in China in 2007 while Kjeldsen claimed that prize in Australia with Thorbjorn Olesen in 2016 - both first successes for their respective countries.
The pair also share a European Tour triumph at Gleneagles in common - Kjeldsen winning the Diageo Championship there in 2003 while it was the Johnnie Walker Championship when Warren triumphed four years later.
Suri tied for top spot with Syme, who was still an amateur at the time, at Gailes Links last year before going on to claim his maiden European Tour victory a few weeks later in the Made in Denmark event.
Varner, one of just a handful of African-Amateur professionals, is bidding to secure a second appearance in golf’s oldest major, having played in the event at Royal Troon, where he tied for 66th behind Henrik Stenson.
Koepka, meanwhile, will be aiming to join his big brother, back-to-back US Open winner Brooks, in the field for the 147th Open Championship on 19-22 July.
Warren and Syme, who has gone from strength to strength since his qualifying success 12 months ago, head a 23-strong Scottish contingent in next week’s event.
That group also includes Craig Lawrie, eldest son of 1999 Open champion Paul, as well as on-form Challenge Tour players Grant Forrest, Liam Johnston, Bob MacIntyre and Ewen Ferguson.
Amateurs bidding to secure a dream major appearance in Angus include Alister Hain (St Andrews), Stuart Blair (Royal Musselburgh), Simon Fairburn (Torwoodlee) and Sam Locke (Stonehaven).
Anglo-Scot Ryan Lumsden, who qualified for the recent US Open, is aiming to repeat that feat in the season’s third major at Prince’s in Kent, where the field also includes two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen.
Another former US Open winner, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, is in the line up at St Anne’s Old Links in Lancashire, with the fourth shoot-out in an event involving a total of 288 players taking place at Notts (Hollinwell) .
“Final Qualifying is renowned for producing compelling drama and excitement and a coveted place in The Open will be the reward for those golfers who are successful in the four qualifying events,” said Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, executive director – championships at the R&A.
“For many golfers in the field it is a chance to achieve a lifetime ambition and qualify to play alongside the world’s best players in The Open and we look forward to seeing which names emerge from the field to take their place at Carnoustie next month.”