James Morrison locked up a spot in his first Open Championship, leading nine other qualifiers June 25 at Sunningdale GC in Berkshire, England.
Morrison shot 63-68 to finish at 8-under 131 – two shots ahead of runner-up Sam Walker (133).
“I’m really looking forward to making my debut in The Open,” Morrison said. “I remember when I was a kid coming home from school at 4:30 and watching it on TV, so it will be great to be a part of it.”
Morrison, whose first round included seven birdies, and his wife, Jessica, celebrated the birth of their first child, Finley, 12 days ago. Morrison bogeyed the final two holes of last year’s Open qualifier to miss out by one stroke.
Also qualifying were Jamie Donaldson, Matthew Baldwin, Alejandro Canizares, Richard Finch, Marcus Fraser and Ross Fisher at 134, and Lee Slattery and Thorbjorn Olesen at 135.
Donaldson opened the 36-hole qualifier with a 72, but responded with a 62, tying a course record, to secure a spot at next month’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.
Notables not making the cut include veteran Colin Montgomerie, Matteo Manassero, the highest ranked golfer in the field according to the Official World Golf Ranking, and Jose Maria Olazabal, who finished third at the 1992 Open and T-3 in 2005.
“That the story of my game at the moment,” Olazabal said. “I see sparks of good play, but I’m just not consistent enough. I’m letting too many shots leak away.”
They still have a shot at qualifying for the Open should they finish as the leading non-exempt player within the top 5 at either the Alstrom Open de France or the Scottish Open in July.