Martin Kaymer's decade-plus streak of qualifying for every major championship is in jeopardy
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Often in golf, one player’s good fortune is another player’s heartache. So it was on Sunday at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. With a final-round 65 at Lahinch Golf Club, two-time major winner Martin Kaymer appeared to have the third and final spot into the Open Championship at Royal Portrush for those not already qualified locked up as he sat in a tie for eighth at 11-under 269. However, England’s Paul Waring had other things to say about it.
On the par-5 18th, Waring made a birdie—his fourth over his final six holes—that gave the 34-year-old a closing 66 and pushed him past Kaymer on the leader board into a tie for seventh at 12 under. That meant Waring would receive the remaining spot being awarded to players who hadn’t already qualified for the final major of the year.
“I am absolutely gobsmacked to be honest, I thought I had to go one more but to birdie the last to get in is absolutely fantastic,” Waring said.
Gobsmacked might be how Kaymer felt as well upon seeing the result.
“I’ve been thinking about the Open for the last few weeks, it’s a big goal of mine,” Kaymer said after his round on Sunday. “[The Open] is the tournament I really, really would like to win one day.”
Unfortunately for the 34-year-old German, time is running out to get into the field at Portrush. There are only four more qualifying spots still open. The top three players not otherwise exempt that finish in the top 10 (and ties) at next week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open on the European Tour will get into the field. The European Tour’s website lists Kaymer in the field at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick. Additionally, the top finisher not exempt among the top five and ties at the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic will get into the Open.
Should Kaymer fail to qualify for the Open, it will be the end of an impressive streak. He has been eligible to play in every major championship since the 2008 Masters, and has missed just one start, the 2017 PGA, due to injury.