Scotland’s Open Championship contingent next week at Royal Birkdale swelled to seven with two qualifiers from the DDF Irish Open at Portstewart yesterday.
Richie Ramsay and David Drysdale – both winning their biggest cheques in their careers in the process thanks to the enlarged Rolex Series prizefund – joined with New Zealand’s Ryan Fox in gaining the three qualifying spots behind runaway winner Jon Rahm.
Ramsay shared second with England’s Matthew Southgate six shots behind Rahm after a final round 65 that included a charge of six shots gained in seven holes on the back nine, and the three-time Tour winner will leap into the world’s top 100 again as well as earning his seventh Open appearance.
For Drysdale, there was a tense wait of two hours to secure only his second Open appearance in his many years on Tour after he shot a brilliant 63 including an incredible run of seven consecutive birdies to finish to reach 17-under.
He then had to endure watching while several players passed him only to falter as the weather closed in at the conclusion of the tournament.
Fox, Julien Quesne and Benjamin Hebert all caught Drysdale, but both Frenchmen slipped out of contention in the final holes leaving Daniel Im, the American who led for the first two rounds, as the chief danger.
However having reached 18-under Im missed a birdie chance at 17 and then bunkered his drive at the 18th and failed to get the par he needed.
The final round par 72 left Im tied with Drysdale and Fox on 17-under but as the Scot (347) and the Kiwi (149) had higher world rankings than the American (542) they secured the coveted Open places.
Four Scots have come through various qualifying events to make Royal Birkdale in the last two weeks. Martin Laird won a spot from the Quicken Loans event on the PGA Tour last weekend, and amateur Connor Syme won the 36-hole Final Qualifying tournament at Gailes Links last Tuesday.
Former Open champions Sandy Lyle and Paul Lawrie as well as Russell Knox from the world rankings were already booked in for Royal Birkdale next week.
Three further qualifying spots are available for players finishing within the top 10 in this week’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald this week.