Golf: Lee and Jamie book Open spots

Lee Westwood and Jamie Donaldson have both qualified for the 145th Open at Royal Troon next July.

By Bob Westerdale, Head of Sport
Sunday, 13th December 2015, 11:48 am

Donaldson led a quartet of qualifiers by winning the Thailand Golf Championship, the second event in The Open Qualifying Series, with France's Clement Sordet and 16-year-old Thai Phachara Khongwatmai also booking their spots.

Welshman Donaldson, who won the decisive match at last year's Ryder Cup, sealed a three-shot victory in Thailand with a seven-under-par closing round of 65.

Defending champion Westwood, from Worksop, finished tied in second place with Sordet and will make a 22nd consecutive appearance at The Open.

"It's great to get into The Open," he said. "It's my favourite championship of the year. I have played in every one since 1995 so it's nice to keep that run going.

"I've played at Royal Troon quite a few times and I finished fourth there one year. I like the golf course as it's a traditional links."

Khongwatmai came through the pre-qualifying event in Thailand and eventually finished sixth, but that was enough to earn him one of the four spots available because Sergio Garcia and An Byeong-hun, who finished in fourth and fifth, are already exempt.

The teenager said: "I am overwhelmed with happiness that I can be able to be included in The Open next year. I played with no expectations so I guess that was the key to playing well.

"I was already very happy to get a chance to play with the top stars this week. I didn't think so much and I surprised even myself to finish so well."