Trio qualifies for British Open debut

Floris de Vries and Martin Maritz during International Final Qualifying for the 2011 British Open.

Floris de Vries and Martin Maritz during International Final Qualifying for the 2011 British Open.

JOHANNESBURG – Floris de Vries, Martin Maritz and Neil Schietekat will make their British Open debuts after finishing in the top three at International Final Qualifying Africa.

De Vries shot 3-under 68 on Jan. 20 to finish 10-under for the 36-hole event at the par-71 east course at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

The 21-year-old Dutchman finished four shots ahead of the South African duo of Maritz and Schietekat.

De Vries opened with two bogeys on the first three holes but cemented his position at the top with birdies on the fifth, sixth, eighth, 13th and 18th holes.

“It feels really great,” said De Vries, who graduated from the Challenge Tour to the European Tour this year. “I sort of knew after yesterday that I could do it as I was playing really well, but it’s a great feeling and I can’t wait.”

Over the past three years, Maritz, 33, was a club professional in the United States but felt he still had some gas in his tank.

“When I stopped playing full-time three years ago, there were two things I was a bit disappointed about. One was not winning a tournament and the other was not playing in a major,” he said. “So this is just fantastic.”

This year’s British Open will be held at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich from July 14-17.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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