Van Zyl secures St Andrews spot

Alstom Open de France - Day FourJaco van Zyl, James Morrison and Rafael Cabrera-Bello qualified for the 144th Open at St Andrews after the final round of the Alstom Open de France.

Three places in the Championship, played from 16-19 July, were available through the Open Qualifying Series at the event at Le Golf National, near Paris, for the leading three non-exempt players who finished in the top ten and ties.

Morrison finished on ten-under-par, three strokes behind the winner Bernd Wiesberger, who is exempt for The Open, to secure his place at St Andrews. The 30-year-old Englishman, who won his second European Tour title at the Open de Espana in May, shot a final round four-under-par 67 and will make his second appearance in golf’s oldest Championship after finishing tied 23rd at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2012.

South Africa’s Van Zyl finished two shots further back in third place after a final round two-over-par 73 left him on eight-under-par for the Championship. The 36-year-old from Johannesburg, who played in the 2013 US Open at Merion and the USPGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club the same year, will make his debut in The Open at the home of golf.

“It’s great. I played really, really nicely and securing a spot in The Open means a lot to me. It’s always great to be at St Andrews and the history is just absolutely phenomenal,” said Van Zyl.

“Playing it in The Open is just going to mean so much more. It’s all going to be pretty new. I played in the US Open a couple of years ago but this is a very different feel and I am just looking forward to it.”

“I cannot wait, it’s every boy’s dream,” said Morrison. “It’s the home of golf and I can’t wait to get there now. My goal was to try to have another go at it this week and I have done that. It is not easy to finish top five any week but to finish second and secure a place is even better.”

Cabrera-Bello achieved a remarkable turnaround after getting off to a poor start in the final round with a double bogey six at the 1st hole, a triple bogey seven at the 5th and a bogey at the 7th.

The 31-year-old Spaniard holed his second shot on the par four 12th for an eagle, birdied the next and then eagled the par five 14th. At the last hole, the two-time winner on the European Tour holed a 25 foot putt for a dramatic birdie which meant he had shot 29 for the back nine. That took him to five-under-par for the Championship and was enough to secure the last qualifying place. He finished two shots behind Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who is exempt for The Open.

“It means a lot to me,” said Cabrera-Bello. “The Open is my favourite championship in the world. I played the last three years, particularly at Muirfield, I really enjoyed it as I was up there contending for most of the Championship. I think my game is in really good form at the moment.”

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