Michael Hoey claims place at Open Championship

Michael Hoey is presented with an Open Championship badge after the final round of the Alstom Open De France  at Le Golf National
Michael Hoey is presented with an Open Championship badge after the final round of the Alstom Open De France at Le Golf National

Michael Hoey will join Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke in the Open Championship field at Hoylake following his seventh place finish at the Alstom Open de France.

Michael carded a final round one under 71 to grab one of three Open Championship places on offer in France

The former Amateur Champion (2001) has twice played in The Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2001 and 2012 and believes his experience of playing links golf helped him deal with the wet and windy conditions this week at Le Golf National.

“It was like playing in Northern Ireland and was really wild at one stage so it was a nice preparation for The Open,” said Michael, who won the Dunhill Links Championship back in 2011.

“I played the Amateur Championship at Hoylake in 2000 and I’m looking forward to going back.

“I have grown up playing courses like Royal Portrush and Royal County Down so playing the links means a lot to me.

“I remember growing up watching The Open every summer and of all the Majors it’s the closest to home.”

The 35-year-old narrowly missed out on Open qualification at the Irish Open but earned his place with a battling finish in tough conditions.

“Everything was wet and it was mentally tiring but there is no doubt that playing back home helped,” added Michael.

“I’ve also played I think it’s seven out of eight weeks, so it’s a mental battle and it gives you a lot of satisfaction if you do well.

“I held it together with some good swings and playing with graeme helped me with momentum. Those couple of birdies on 15 and 16 kept me in it.”

Sweden’s Robert Karlsson and France’s Victor Riu also secured places in the 143rd Open Championship.

Karlsson is a veteran links competitor and is set to make his 17th Open appearance since 1989.

The 44-year-old delivered his best result in 1992 when he tied for fifth at Muirfield and is looking forward to playing his second Open at Hoylake.

“I have a nice collection of Open players’ badges and I have really good memories from Hoylake in 2006,” he said.

“It’s a very nice golf course and it looks like it won’t be as dry as when we played there last time but if the wind is up it’s going to be very difficult.”

Riu had the support of the home crowd throughout the tournament and was delighted to earn one of the qualifying places on offer at his national Open.

“For me, The Open is the most beautiful tournament in the world. I played the Boys Amateur at Hoylake when I was younger and I really like the course so I am very excited to be able to play,” said the 29-year-old.

The next events in The Open Qualifying Series, are the John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open on the European Tour from 10-13 July.