Lucky Number Three for Birkdale Open
No less than three Australian players will be competing in The 146th Open Royal Birkdale, which will be played from 16 to 23 July, 2017. No small feat considering the fact that the premier global series only avails itself to 44 players in total. Ashley Hall, Cameron Smith and Aaron Baddeley secured their respective places at this year’s event during November 2016 at the Emirates Australian Open.
The 101st playing of Australia’s most prestigious championship served as the very first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 146th Open Royal Birkdale.
Hall and Smith both finished on 12-under-par, along with world No. 5 Jordan Spieth. Spieth went on to beat the two Aussies in the 3-man play-off. Spieth had a two-out-of-three trick of his own going, having lifted the coveted Stonehaven Cup for the second time in three years.
Said Hall, “It’s great, I love Birkdale. I played The Amateur there in 2005, so nothing new to me. I qualified in the International Final Qualifying for The Open in 2012 when it was at Lytham, so I actually played Birkdale that week as well, so it’s going to be fun to play there again.”
He went on to say, “I love links golf. I love the way they play and it’s just a different way of playing golf. Much like Australian golf, you can bounce the ball around a little bit, so I don’t think it’s any secret why Aussies have done pretty good in the past at the Open.”
For Cameron Smith it will be the first time playing the Open. The 23-year-old seems upbeat about his prospects at success, “It’s the only major I haven’t played in yet, so I’m keen to get over there. That’s the one with all the history.”
Bouncing It Up With The Best
World No. 1 Henrik Stenson will also be competing in this year’s Open. Stenson makes no secret of having a passionate tie with golf’s premier event, “I always had the belief that I could win the Open because it’s been in the back of my mind since I first stood on a putting green. You imagine those things as a junior and I finally got to live that dream.”
Stenson lifted the prestigious Claret Jug in 2016 at The 145th Open and became Champion Golfer of the Year.
“When I said there a year ago with no major championship I’d have gladly taken any. But if I’m to win only one, that’d be the one because being European and watching my idols battling it out for the Open – it’s been highest on my wish list.”
Punters would do well to keep an eye out for Englishman Ian Poulter, as well as fellow-countrymen Mark Foster and Joe Dean.
Poulter led the 15 qualifiers in final qualifying for The 146th Open Royal Birkdale.
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