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open championship

LIV golfer makes 18 birdies on the weekend in Malaysia to qualify for Open Championship

February 18, 2024
2011870393

ARIF KARTONO

David Puig played in the Malaysian Open for one reason, and his goal was in serious jeopardy late Friday with the cut on the line. Then the 22-year-old from Spain birdied two of his last four holes during the second round to make the cut on the number.

Trailing by eight shots heading into the weekend, Puig shot 62-62 in the last two rounds to finish the week at 23-under-par total to win at the par-71 Mines Resort and Golf Club. The victory gave him one of three spots in the Open Championship this summer at Royal Troon as the Malaysian Open is part of the Open Qualifying Series.

“Getting that Open spot is super cool,” he said. “I came here for that.”

Puig, who is part of Sergio Garcia’s Fireballs team with LIV Golf, birdied exactly half of his 36 holes on the weekend, collecting 18 against no bogeys. Preferred lies were in place, but it’s still a remarkable accomplishment for the man who won his second Asian Tour event in the last five months. He will now play in his first Open Championship, and second major, following a tie for 39th place at the U.S. Open last summer at Los Angeles Country Club.

“It feels great, weird feeling for sure,” Puig said. “We almost missed the cut. I was kind of playing good, but I kind of messed up. We actually finished Round 2 good and the weekend was just insane. I mean, 18 birdies, no bogeys, in 36 holes was unbelievable.”

The third round started with a par, then Puig rattled off five birdies in his next seven holes and made the turn at 30. He birdies Nos. 10, 11, 16 and 17 on the back for his first 62 and entered the final round three shots behind the leader. On Sunday, Puig birdied five of six holes on the front to again shoot 30, made three consecutive on 10-12 and finished with one more on the par-5 17th hole.

South Korea’s Jeunghun Wang and Thailand’s Denwit Boriboonsub finished second and tied for third respectively to secure the other two spots in the Open Championship. Both shot 61 in the final round. (Joaquin Niemann won the Australian Open and Dean Burmester won the Joburg Open to earn Open spots. Both men are LIV players. There are 13 players from the league currently in the Open field.)

Puig played college golf at Arizona State and left school early in 2022 to play in LIV Golf’s inaugural event in England and played in three of the seven LIV events that season. Last year he played for Joaquin Niemann’s Torque team. This year he moved to Garcia’s Fireballs team alongside Garcia, Abraham Ancer and Eugenio Chacarra. Puig tied for 38th place in LIV Golf’s first event of the year in Mayakoba and tied for 15th place two weeks ago in Las Vegas.