Date: March 05, 2014
Author: R&A

Ten Aussies hit Open Qualifying in Thailand

Four players will qualify for The Open this week at Open Qualifying Series – Asia, joining Australians John Senden, Rhein Gibson and Bryden Macpherson who qualified at the Emirates Australian Open in November 2013. Ten Australians including David Lutterus, Scott Barr, Adam Groom, Kieran Pratt, Unho Park, Wade Ormsby, Nathan Holman, Marcus Both, Terry Pilkadaris and Aaron Townsend will all attempt to book a place at Royal Liverpool. George Coetzee and Justin Walters of South Africa and Jin Jeong of South Korea secured the three places on offer at The Joburg Open in South Africa in February. Thailand s Prayad Marksaeng will lead the home players seeking to qualify for The Open Championship in this week s Open Qualifying Series event at Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi. Marksaeng and India s Anirban Lahiri head an international field of 76 golfers who will play in the 36-hole qualifying event on Thursday, 6 March and Friday, 7 March with four places in The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake from 17-20 July, 2014 at stake. The event is the third stop in the Open Qualifying Series and will give players from across the region the chance to play in golf’s oldest Major Championship. Competitors from 18 countries will be bidding to secure their place at The Open, including ten players from Thailand. Marksaeng, an eight-time winner on the Asian Tour, is looking to make his sixth appearance at The Open in 2014. The reigning Thailand Open champion is one of the country s most successful golfers but has yet to make the cut at The Open Championship. His last Open appearance was at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2012, and the Hua Hin native earned a place in the field after finishing second at the 2012 International Final Qualifying event at Amata Spring. I have been proud to play in The Open Championship in the past and I m hoping I can repeat the success I had in qualifying at Amata Spring in 2012. The new Open Qualifying Series is a great opportunity for players from Thailand and the Asia-Pacific region to earn a place in the field at Royal Liverpool. I m sure everyone will be competing hard for those four places, said Marksaeng. Another player expected to be a contender is India s Anirban Lahiri, who made his Major Championship debut at The 2012 Open. It was a memorable outing, with Lahiri making a hole-in-one in the third round before finishing tied for 31st. Playing in The Open at Royal Lytham was one of the highlights of my career so far and I really enjoyed the challenge of links golf. The hole-in-one on the 9th hole capped it all as my dad was there to watch me. He was jumping up and down with excitement and that memory will stay with me forever. I would very much like to qualify once again and play at Royal Liverpool in July, said Lahiri, who is a three-time winner on the Asian Tour and India s highest-ranked professional golfer. Liang Wen-Chong will look to make his return to The Open after becoming the first Chinese player to make the cut at a Major Championship when he finished tied for 64th at the 2008 Open at Royal Birkdale. Liang, who is a Working for Golf Ambassador for The R&A, has notched 19 career tournament wins. Among the other players in the field with experience of The Open are Mardan Mamat, who has made three appearances in the Championship and was the first Singaporean to play at The Open in 1997, and China s Ashun Wu, who made his Major Championship debut at Muirfield in 2013. Established in 2005, Amata Spring Country Club is one of Thailand s most prestigious golf facilities and has hosted numerous international tournaments including the 2013 Thailand Open in December that was won by Sergio Garcia. The par-3 17th is the Club’s signature hole, featuring the only floating green in Asia. Competitors will play a total of 36 holes on March 6 and 7 with the top four finishers earning places in the field at The 143rd Open Championship. For more information, visit