Justin Harding of South Africa will make his first trip to the British Open after winning the international qualifier in Africa by three strokes.
Harding’s 14-under 130 for the 36-hole qualifier distanced him from Spain’s Eduardo De La Riva at 11-under and South Africa’s Darryn Lloyd at 9-under, both of whom also qualified for the Open.
“All of us as youngsters avidly watched The Open over the years and I’m really looking forward to my first major,” Harding said after an 8-under final round that featured nine birdies. “With Ernie Els defending it will be a special one, and I’ve heard that Muirfield is a phenomenal place, so everything feels perfect right now.
De La Riva was 5-under on the front during his final round on the strength of a first-hole birdie, en route to a 66. Lloyd also eagled the first, yet needed a birdie on 18 to avoid a playoff against Jake Roos and Garth Mulroy for the last qualifying spot.
“I live in England and that adds to the importance of this Championship for me – it’s really amazing that I’ll be playing at Muirfield,” said Lloyd, 23.
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Scores after British Open International Final Qualifying – Africa at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club:
130 (-14) – Justin Harding (RSA) (66,64)
133 (-11) – Eduardo De La Riva (ESP) (67,66)
135 (-9) – Darryn Lloyd (RSA) (66,69)
136 (-8) – Garth Mulroy (RSA) (69,67); Jake Roos (RSA) (66,70)
137 (-7) – Johan Du Buisson (RSA) (71,66); Ross McGowan (ENG) (69,68); Dean Burmester (RSA) (68,69)
138 (-6) – Martin Rominger (SUI) (70,68)
139 (-5) – Shaun Norris (RSA) (71,68); Andrew Georgiou (RSA) (65,74)
140 (-4) – Trevor Fisher (RSA) (74,66); Daniel Van Tonder (RSA) (71,69); Alex Haindl (RSA) (71,69); Bryce Easton (RSA) (71,69); Lyle Rowe (RSA) (70,70); James Kingston (RSA) (70,70); Desvonde Botes (RSA) (67,73)