By Alistair Tait
St. Andrews, Scotland
Brad Faxon’s $7,000 travel investment reaped dividends when he qualified for the British Open Championship July 10 at Lundin Golf Club. Faxon was one of 12 players from four venues to book tee times at the Old Course through Local Final Qualifying.
Faxon could not participate in International Final Qualifying in Summit, N.J., June 27 because he had already committed to co-hosting the CVS Charity Classic in Rhode Island with Billy Andrade. However, there was no way the self-confessed lover of links golf was going to miss out on a chance to play in the game’s oldest major.
He was the only PGA Tour player to try his hand at Local Final Qualifying. His 7-under-par 64 in the opening round was one stroke off the course record and gave him the outright first-round lead at Lundin. However, a 69 in the second round had him thinking about flights home rather than looking for accommodations in St. Andrews.
Faxon missed two birdie putts down the stretch and thought his 133 total was “not even close.”
He had to hang around for eight hours before he discovered he had qualified to play in his 14th British Open.
“The thing is, if you win a tournament like The Open, it changes your whole life, and I’m not going to win staying at home,” he said. “There is a special feeling playing these links courses and competing in the oldest major in the world. I was always coming to Scotland to qualify.”
Five amateurs qualified through LFQ, including Texas Tech junior Oscar Floren of Sweden and Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup player Lloyd Saltman of Scotland.
Saltman, 19, is having the season of his life. Earlier this year he won the St. Andrews Links Trophy at the Old Course and the Brabazon Trophy in consecutive weeks, results that clinched his Walker Cup spot.
“I just can’t believe it,” Saltman said. “I never dreamed of this at the start of the season, but this year has been unbelievable. To be named in the Walker Cup team and then qualify for the Open is amazing.”
Scotland’s Eric Ramsay, winner of the Australian Amateur Championship earlier this year, Italy’s Edoardo Molinari and England’s Robert Steele are the other three amateurs into the field.