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Open Championship qualifying

Open Championship qualifying: A new Tiger in the mix, Alex Fitzpatrick to join brother Matt and Sergio's streak ends

July 04, 2023
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Sergio Garcia failed to advance to the Open Championship later this month at Royal Liverpool. He's played in every Open since 1998.

Jan Kruger/R&A

Turns out Tiger will play the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. Not Tiger Woods, but a German teen amateur who plays college golf at the University of Arizona. Tiger Christensen—along with Royal Liverpool member and DP World Tour pro Matthew Jordan, and Alex Fitzpatrick, Matt’s younger brother—were the standout stories Tuesday among 19 golfers who secured spots in the Open via 36-hole final qualifying from four sites.

Christensen, 19, birdied three of the final six holes at West Lancashire to lock up one of five Open Championship spots from a field that included major winners Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell. The West Lancashire site saw England’s Matt Wallace, who won the PGA Tour’s Corales Puntacana Championship earlier this year, take medalist honors at 11 under par (68-65). Wallace’s fellow Englishman Jordan, and Kyle Barker were a shot further back at 10 under. Fitzpatrick joined Christensen in securing the last two spots at nine under.

Royal Liverpool, hosting its 13th Open Championship, took to Instagram to celebrate Jordan’s qualification. “He’s done it! Huge congratulations to Matty Jordan on securing a spot at his home Open here at #RLGCHoylake in a couple of weeks’ time, courtesy of a fantastic performance in Final Qualifying at @westlancsgc Lancs today,” the club wrote.

“Playing in front of the home crowd was brilliant; I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like in two weeks’ time,” Jordan said after qualifying. “It was great playing with Sergio [Garcia] today; he brought more people along. I can’t wait to get there. See you at Hoylake.”

Alex Fitzpatrick, who walked inside the ropes when his older brother Matt won the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club at Brookline, secured a spot in his major debut. Matt took to Twitter to celebrate on what will be the 10-year anniversary of his Open Championship debut.

“10 years ago yesterday I qualified for The Open for the first time,” Fitzpatrick, who was low amateur at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, wrote on Twitter. “Today my brother does the same exact thing!! Couldn’t be prouder and can’t wait to play a major championship with him!”

At Royal Cinque Ports, in the English seaside town of Deal, South Africa’s Martin Rohwer and Beglium’s Thomas Detry shared the low 36-hole score at three under, while a shot back was the South African LIV Golf duo of Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace. Frenchman Antoine Rozner secured the last of five spots at two under.

Royal Porthcawl was dominated by Englishmen—LIV golfer Laurie Canter topped the leaderboard at eight under, while countrymen Brandon Thompson Robinson (four under) and Matthew Southgate (two under) joined Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond and Oliver Farr in rounding out the five who got through.

The only Scottish site, Dundonald Links, offered four spots. Homegrown player Michael Stewart finished at seven under, followed by England’s Marco Penge (five under) in second. Australian Connor McKinney (three under) and Scotland’s Graeme Robertson clinched the third and fourth spots in a playoff.

“I putted beautifully this morning, hit the ball in play pretty much everywhere and holed a lot of putts," Robinson said. "It was good fun out there. I hit a couple of loose shots this afternoon with the weather coming in for four or five holes but I battled through it."

There were 21 LIV golfers who entered final qualifying. Among those who did tee it up, three progressed—Schwartzel, Grace and Canter. Garcia and McDowell were among the group who did not advance.

Garcia, the 2017 Masters champion, shot 67 in his morning round at West Lancashire but shot 71 in the afternoon and missed out on a playoff by three shots. He had played 24 straight Opens, dating back to 1998 when he was an amateur. He has 10 top-10 finishes, including runner-up in 2007 via a playoff loss to Padraig Harrington and in 2014, where he tied Rickie Fowler, two shots behind Rory McIlroy.