Sydney, Australia: Home favourites Rod Pampling, Brett Rumford and Greg Chalmers qualified for The Open after the final round of the Emirates Australian Open.
Pampling finished on a seven-under-par total of 277 in second place, six shots behind the winner, America’s Jordan Spieth, to qualify for the 144th Open at St Andrews next July. He was joined by fellow Australians Rumford and Chalmers, who finished on six-under and five-under respectively.
The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the Open Qualifying Series and Pampling, Rumford and Chalmers played steady golf in blustery afternoon conditions at the Australian Golf Club to secure the three qualifying places available.
Pampling recovered from three dropped shots in his first four holes and carded five birdies on the back nine for a three-under round of 68. The 45-year-old Queenslander has made seven appearances in The Open with his best finish being tied 27th at Royal Troon in 2004 and again at Carnoustie in 2007.
Pampling, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, said: “I was really happy with the back nine. To shoot five-under coming in was nice. It’s fantastic to qualify. I think it’s an awesome venue and obviously it’s the Home of Golf.
“I have been there a few times so I am really looking forward to having that experience and getting out there.”
Rumford got his round going with three consecutive birdies from the fifth hole and, despite dropping shots on the eighth, 11th and 15th holes, the 37-year-old birdied the last to finish with a one-under round of 70.
The five-time winner on the European Tour, who hails from Perth, finished tied 16th in The Open at Royal Liverpool in 2006 and will make his fifth appearance next year.
He said: “It’s been a tremendous week and this is real positive to take out of the week. It’s of huge significance that it’s at St Andrews. I think it’s every five years on the rotation it goes back to St Andrews so I’m really looking forward to getting back there.
“I know St Andrews well through the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship but obviously an Open there is a little bit different.”
Back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th got Chalmers’ round back on track and he finished with a level-par round of 71. The 41-year-old will make his third appearance at The Open. His best finish was tied 45th at Royal Lytham in 2012.
The two-time Australian Open champion is also a former winner of the Australian PGA Championship.
Chalmers said: “I’m really excited for me and my family. I will take everybody over to St Andrews. I’m really proud of myself and very pleased to earn this spot in The Open.”
The Open Qualifying Series continues at the Thailand Golf Championship from December 11-14.
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