Super Spaniard Sergio Garcia will miss teeing-up in golf’s oldest major for a first time in 26-years after failing to qualify this week at the West Lancashire course, one of four final qualifying venues.
Garcia, coming off the high of being on home soil at the inaugural Valderrama LIV event, was in good shape after the opening nine holes, posting a five-under 67 and with the top qualifiers earning an Open tee time.
However, a no frills second round 71 left him lamenting sharing sixth place, three shots shy of his Royal Liverpool goal, with this year’s PGA Tour winning Matt Wallace topping the West Lancs qualifiers at 11-under.
“I haven’t really missed many majors since turning pro in 1999, just one because of Covid and the PGA a couple of months ago and unfortunately I’m going to miss this one,” Garcia said.
“It’s a shame but it’s the game. I felt I had it close, in the grasp of my hand, but that’s what it is. If you don’t even come here you can’t get disappointed because you are not even trying. I was trying and unfortunately it just wasn’t good enough.”
In fact, Garcia has contested every Open since 1998 and with his best finish losing a play-off to Padraig Harrington at the 2007 Open at Carnoustie and then runner-up seven years later behind Rory McIlroy at Royal Liverpool.
Playing alongside Garcia, Royal Liverpool member Matthew Jordan carded rounds of 65 and 69 to finish a shot behind Wallace, with South Africa’s Kyle Barker, England’s Alex Fitzpatrick and German amateur Tiger Christensen securing the other qualifying places.
“Playing in front of my home crowd today was brilliant so I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like come two weeks’ time,” said Jordan.
“It was great playing with Sergio, obviously a great player, Masters champion and brilliant off the tee. He obviously brought more people along so I thoroughly enjoyed his company. I cannot wait to get there (Hoylake).”
Former US Open winning Graeme McDowell joined Garcia in missing out following rounds of 72 and 68 also at West Lancs.
Also falling short of the reason for his visit to the UK was the PGA Championship ‘hole-in-one’ hero Michael Bolt.
Bolt was at Dundonald Links, and despite a big following, produced horror scores of 77 and 76.
Top Final Qualifiers:
Dundonald Links *Four spots
Michael Stewart (Scotland)
Marco Penge (England)
Connor McKinney (Australia)
Graeme Robertson (Scotland)
West Lancashire *5 spots
Matt Wallace (Eng)
Matthew Jordan (Eng)
Kyle Barker (RSA)
Alex Fitzpatrick (England)
Tiger Christensen (a) (Germany)
Royal Cinque Ports *5 places
Martin Rohwer (RSA)
Thomas Detry (Belgium)
Charl Schwartzel (RSA)
Branden Grace (RSA)
Antoine Rozner (France)
Royal Porthcawl *5 places
Laurie Canter (England)
Brandon Robinson Thompson (England)
Matthew Southgate (England)
Jazz Janewattananond (Thailand)
Oliver Farr (Wales)