With the season’s next major championship just five weeks off, the sprint is on to nail down spots into the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Two names on the verge of earning invites are Brendon Todd and Kevin Na, ranked 10th and 11th, respectively, in the FedEx Cup standings. After this week’s Travelers Championship, the top five names not already exempt who sit inside the top 20 in the FEC points will qualify.
Todd and Na are the only players who presently would qualify. Neither is playing in the Travelers, but they will not fall out.
Kevin Stadler is one to keep an eye on. He sits 21st in the FEC points list and could earn a spot into the Open Championship field with a good week at TPC River Highlands.
Charles Howell III (23rd), J.B. Holmes (28th) and Will MacKenzie (29th) are next behind Stadler for being closest to the top 20 in FEC points and not exempt into the Open Championship, but none is entered into the Travelers.
Erik Compton, fresh off a T-2 at the U.S. Open, is not exempt into the Open Championship. He would need another week like Pinehurst, because he sits 43rd in the standings.
There will be three more chances for PGA Tour names to earn trips to Hoylake. As part of the first Open Championship Qualifying Series, the top four names not already exempt who finish inside the top 12 and ties at next week’s Quicken Loans National will get berths. Ditto the following week’s Greenbrier Classic. A week later, one player will earn a spot should he finish within the top five and ties.
This week’s Open Championship Qualifying Series spotlight settles on the Irish Open, where three spots are available for those among the top 10 and ties. One notable name who is in the field and chasing a berth into Hoylake is Matthew Fitzpatrick. As the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, he would be exempt into the Open, but he forfeited that spot by turning professional. But he would be back in should he finish top 10 at the Fota Island Resort in County Cork.