MARKSAENG AND LAHIRI BID TO QUALIFY FOR THE OPEN IN THAILAND
4 March 2014, Chonburi, Thailand: 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 onwith four places in The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake from 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.
The four players that qualify for The Open this week will join Australians John Senden, Rhein Gibson and Bryden Macpherson who qualified at the Emirates Australian Open in November 2013. 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.
Competitors will play a total of 36 holes onwith the top four finishers earning places in the field at The 143rd Open Championship.
For more information, visit TheOpen.com
Notes to editors:
The Open Qualifying Series replaces International Final Qualifying (IFQ) for The Open Championship which was introduced in 2004 and involved 36-hole qualifying events in Africa, Australasia, Asia, America, and Europe. Amata Spring Country Club hosted the Asia events in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
The Open Qualifying Series (OQS) will offer the following qualification places in The Open Championship:
|Open Qualifying Series||Event||No of places||Detail|
|OQS-Australia||The Emirates Australian Open||3||three places to the leading three players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 10 and ties|
|OQS-South Africa||The Joburg Open||3||three places to the leading three players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 10 and ties|
|OQS-Thailand||The Open Qualifying Series - Thailand||4||four places to the leading four players|
|OQS-Japan||The Mizuno Open||4||four places to the leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 12 and ties|
|OQS-Ireland||The Irish Open||3||three places to the leading three players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 10 and ties|
|OQS-France||Alstom Open de France||3||three places to the leading three players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 10 and ties|
|OQS-Scotland||Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open||3||three places to the leading three players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 10 and ties|
|OQS-USA||AT&T National||4||four places to the leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 12 and ties|
|OQS-USA||The Greenbrier Classic||4||four places to the leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 12 and ties|
|OQS-USA||John Deere Classic||1*||one place to the leading player (not otherwise exempt) who finishes in the top five and ties|
|OQS-Final Qualifying||Gailes Links|
Royal Cinque Ports
|12||Three places available at each event|
*There is one place in the John Deere Classic due to the logistics of qualifiers travelling to play in The Open at short notice.
NB: Any player who has qualified through The Open Qualifying Series is deemed an exempt player. In the event that that player subsequently fulfils other exemption categories those places in the starting field will be subject to Section G of The Open Championship Entry Form (i.e. these places will be made available to the highest ranked players on OWGR after the close of entries).
Final Qualifying for The Open Championship has also changed in 2014. Final Qualifying will continue to offer three places at each of four events in the UK, but for the first time will be played at four venues covering Scotland and the North-west, Central and South-coast regions of England. Taking place at Gailes Links in Ayrshire, Hillside Golf Club in Southport, Woburn Golf Club near Milton Keynes and Royal Cinque Ports in Kent, these events will provide a more accessible route into The Open for competitors qualifying from the 13 Regional Qualifying events around the country.
The Open Championship:
The 143rd Open Championship will be played at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake from.
The Open Championship is golf’s oldest Major. Played since 1860 on British links golf courses, it is the game’s most international Major Championship with qualifying events on every continent. For one week each year, the pursuit of the famous Claret Jug trophy is the focus of the sporting world, followed globally by millions of fans.
Organised by The R&A, The Open delivers an annual economic benefit of up to £100 million to its host region, while the Championship’s commercial success supports the development of the game, worldwide.