Cheonan, Korea: Hwang Inn-choon and Jang Dong-kyu have secured their places in The 148th Open after qualifying at the KOLON Korea Open.
The KOLON Korea Open was played at Woo Jeong Hill Country Club in Cheonan and was the seventh event in The Open Qualifying Series, which gives golfers around the world opportunities to book their place at Royal Portrush from July 18-21.
Two places were available to the leading players who finished in the top eight and ties and who were not already exempt.
Thai Jazz Janewattananond, who was already exempt from qualifying for The Open after winning the SMBC Singapore Open in January, lifted his fourth title on the Asian Tour after topping the leaderboard on a six-under-par total of 278.
Hwang will make his debut in The Open and first Major championship appearance after finishing runner-up one stroke behind Jazz on 279.
The Korean, who has five professional wins, including the GS Caltex Maekyung Open on the Asian Tour, carded a one-under-par round of 70 that included three birdies to clinch the first available qualifying place.
“The Open was a championship I grew up watching on television and always wanted to play in so to qualify is unbelievable,” said Hwang. “It’s a great honour to be playing in my first Major championship. It is something that all golfers dream about. I’m really looking forward to playing at Royal Portrush.”
Chan Kim finished in third place on four-under-par for the championship and had already qualified for The Open, meaning that the second qualifying spot went to Jang thanks to his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking than Kim Min-joon.
The Korean pair finished in a tie for fourth place on three-under 281 but it will be Jang, who last qualified to play in golf’s original championship at Royal Liverpool after winning the 2014 Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open, who will take his place in the starting field at Royal Portrush next month.
Jang said: “I last played in The Open in 2014. Back then I didn’t really know what to expect from links golf but I am sure that the experience will count in my favour at Royal Portrush.
“I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Irish fans who are very passionate about golf and who hopefully will give me lots of support when I play there.”
The next two events in The Open Qualifying Series are the Estrella Damm NA Andalucía Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation in Spain and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in the United States of America. Both events are being played from June 27-30.