ASIAN GOLF INDUSTRY FEDERATION

Open Championship Incentive at Sentosa Showpiece

St Andrews’ Old Course will stage the 150th Open Championship. Picture by The R&A.

Singapore: Competitors in this month’s SMBC Singapore Open will have the opportunity to travel from Sentosa, the home of the Asian Tour, to St Andrews, the home of golf, through The Open Qualifying Series.

To be played from January 20-23, the SMBC Singapore Open will be staged over the award-winning Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club, a Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.

Since 2017, the SMBC Singapore Open has been part of The Open Qualifying Series – an honour bestowed on the tournament by The R&A, the game’s ruling body.

This year marks the first time players face the challenge of making it through to St Andrews, which due to its special status has usually hosted the event every five years in the modern era.

Four spots at Sentosa Golf Club are up for grabs in The 150th Open ‒ which will be played on the Old Course at St Andrews from July 14-17.

The Open Qualifying Series allows for the leading four players who finish in the top 12 and ties at the SMBC Singapore Open, and who are not already exempt, to earn a place in the game’s oldest Major. The New Zealand Open and Kolon Korean Open are the other Asian Tour events that are part of The Open Qualifying Series, receiving three and two spots respectively.

The last time The Open was played at St. Andrews was in 2015, when American Zach Johnson beat Marc Leishman from Australia and South African Louis Oosthuizen in a four-hole play-off.

“Being part of The Open Qualifying Series is a tremendous privilege for Singapore’s national Open,” said Patrick Feizal Joyce, Senior Vice President, SPORTFIVE ‒ the event promoter and a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation. “It adds a unique and exciting dimension to the tournament while also introducing a truly global element of significance.”

In 2020, the top four finishers to qualify were Korean Kim Joo-hyung, Thai Poom Saksansin, Canada’s Richard T. Lee and Ryosuke Kinoshita of Japan. They earned a place in the elite field at Royal St George’s last year. Both Kinoshita and Poom excelled by making the cut.

Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, is another player who has benefited from The Open berths made available through Singapore as he secured a place in both 2018 and 2019 ‒ the latter resulting from winning the SMBC Singapore Open.

The Open Qualifying Series provides the opportunity for players to realise their dream of playing in golf’s original championship.

Places in The Open are available in a host of events across multiple continents with the latest Open Qualifying Series starting at the Joburg Open at Randpark in November. Three places were on offer there, with Thriston Lawrence, Zander Lombard and Ashley Chesters booking their spots at St Andrews.

In total, 16 professional events in 11 countries make up The Open Qualifying Series in 2022. A minimum of 46 places in The Open are available through the Series, which provides golfers with opportunities to qualify at events around the world on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia, Asian Tour, Korean Tour, Japan Golf Tour and Sunshine Tour.

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