IRISH OPEN: Trio delight at qualifying for St Andrews

Tyrrell Hatton
Tyrrell Hatton

Søren Kjeldsen, Eddie Pepperell and Tyrrell Hatton qualified for the 144th Open at St Andrews after Sunday’s final round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation.

The 40-year-old Kjeldsen will make his seventh appearance at The Open and his second in the Championship at the home of golf after he finished tied 37th in 2010. The Dane’s best finish in The Open was in 2009 at Turnberry when he finished tied 27th.

“I’m very excited. For us The Open is the best Major there is. I’ve been fortunate enough to play all the Majors but we feel like it’s our Open being European. Playing at the Old Course is going to be very, very special,” said Kjeldsen.

Pepperell, who managed four top five finishes in five events on the European Tour last season, didn’t drop a single shot on his way to a final round two-under-par 69, which included birdies on the 8th and 13th holes.

The 24-year-old, who has one win on the Challenge Tour to his name, enjoyed a successful amateur career, representing England in the Eisenhower Trophy and playing for Great Britain and Ireland on three winning Jacques Leglise Trophy teams.

He was runner-up to Tom Lewis in the 2009 Boys Amateur Championship at Royal St George’s. The Englishman played in the 2013 US Open at Merion but will make his debut in The Open at St Andrews.

“This is something I can really look forward to for sure. I have been in St Andrews a lot in my amateur career and on Tour so to go back there for an Open Championship will be quite something,” said Pepperell.

“I’m going to embrace the experience and hopefully go there with my game in good shape and you never know what can happen.

“I grew up playing links in my amateur days so it’s something I’m very comfortable with when I’m playing well.

“So I can’t wait for the Open Championship to come around. It is an exciting prospect.”

Hatton birdied the 17th and parred the last hole to finish on a one-under-par total of 283 and a tie for fourth with Spain’s Rafael Cabrera-Bello. He secured the final qualifying place in The Open by virtue of his higher position in the Official World Golf Ranking.

The 23-year-old will make his fourth appearance at The Open and his second at St Andrews after he qualified for the 2010 Open as an amateur.

This is the second consecutive year that Hatton has secured a place at The Open through the Qualifying Series after finishing tied fourth at the 2014 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open to secure a place at Royal Liverpool.

“I definitely seem to have a way of finding my way into The Open and I’m happy to have done it again,” said Hatton.

“My first Open I felt I was quite unlucky with the draw and it was quite difficult but this is my fourth Open and I feel like I know what to expect now.

“So it is something I am looking forward to. It should be another great experience.”