Søren Kjeldsen, Eddie Pepperell and Tyrrell Hatton qualified for The Open Championship at St Andrews after the final round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation. In windy and showery conditions at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland, the leaders struggled to hold their ground in the final round and Denmark’s Kjeldsen, England’s Pepperell and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, who was already exempt for The Open, finished tied on two-under-par for the championship before going into a play-off.
In the end, Kjeldsen birdied the first play-off hole to win the play-off and joined Englishmen Pepperell and Hatton in securing the three places available in golf’s oldest Championship. Kjeldsen, a three-time winner on the European Tour, led going into the final round but struggled with four dropped shots on his front nine. A birdie on the twelfth steadied the ship but he dropped further shots on the 14th and the 17th to finish with a five-over-par 76.
The 40-year-old will make his seventh appearance at The Open and his second in the Championship at the home of golf after he finished tied 37th in 2010. The Dane’s best finish in The Open was in 2009 at Turnberry when he finished tied 27th.
Kjeldsen commented, “It’s ridiculous. It’s like I’m dreaming and I don’t want anyone to wake me up. I’m very excited, for us The Open is the best major there is. I’ve been fortunate enough to play all the majors but we feel like it’s our Open being European. Playing at the Old Course is going to be very, very special.”