Singapore Open: How last year's Qualifiers fared
The Singapore Open is back this week, with more spots at Royal Portrush on the line as the race to make The 148th Open heats up.
The Open Qualifying Series is already in full swing and the likes of Jake McLeod, Charl Schwartzel and Shaun Norris have all confirmed their places – and there are four more berths up for grabs in Singapore.
The tournament has been part of the Qualifying Series since 2017 and has sent some fine players to The Open – including last year’s quartet.
Few players make a splash quite like Sean Crocker, who qualified for his first Open within four months of turning professional.
The American first shone at baseball but Nick Price soon became his mentor and he progressed steadily through the ranks, reaching the semi-finals of the 2015 US Amateurs before losing to eventual winner Bryson DeChambeau.
Crocker dipped his toe in the water on the European Tour, where he made three cuts in 2017 before turning professional.
He qualified for The Open with a joint-sixth finish in Singapore and headed to Carnoustie with expectations dampened.
Paired with Gavin Green and Ash Turner for the first two rounds, Crocker opened with a steady 71 and repeated that score a day later to make the cut.
He shot an impressive 69 to move to two-under par for the tournament on Saturday when conditions improved.
He eventually finished in a tie for 47th on three-over par.
If at first you don’t succeed, then try and try again is a phrase which rings perfectly true for Australian Lucas Herbert.
Leading the Australian Open by two strokes, it appeared a first berth at The Open was just round the corner in 2017 – before it all went quickly wrong.
He fell to sixth place and missed out on a chance to play at Royal Birkdale. Luckily, he did not have long to wait.
The Open Qualifying Series moves on to Sentosa this week for the SMBC Singapore Open. Four places are available at The Open ⛳️ Find out more here 👉 https://t.co/opM37ru6ax 🇸🇬 pic.twitter.com/wcPhoUiWOb— The Open (@TheOpen) January 14, 2019
A tie for eighth in Singapore a year later secured Herbert’s spot for Carnoustie and he duly delivered when he arrived on the Angus coast.
After a tough start, when he shot a 73, Herbert soon dialled in and fired back-to-back rounds of 69 to leave him at two-under ahead of the final day.
Carnoustie is a tough place to play when the wind gets up and Herbert finished on Sunday with a 77 – leaving him in a tie for 51st.
With crowd favourite Kiradech Aphibarnrat leading the charge, golf in Thailand is on the rise and Danthai Boonma is a name we may have to get used to.
The 22-year-old turned professional in 2014 and became known to European fans two years later when he finished third in the King’s Cup.
He was ranked 314th in the world when he finished in a tie for fourth at the Singapore Open, cementing his place at Carnoustie.
Of course, links golf provides a completely different challenge and Boonma struggled to master Carnoustie’s intricacies.
He shot a 78 in the first round and backed that up with a 74, missing the cut on ten-over par.
Boonma’s compatriot, Jazz Janewattananond is also a highly-rated young Thai golfer who made his major debut at Carnoustie last year.
The 23-year-old finished tied for fourth alongside Boonma in Singapore to confirm his place at The Open, something which appeared inevitable when he first broke through.
That came when he was just 14 in 2010, when he became the youngest player ever to make the cut on the Asian Tour.
Earned his first win on the All Thailand Tour aged 17 and another three years later before a two-week stint as a monk.
Janewattananond arrived at Carnoustie without much experience of links golf and the Angus course is hardly ideal place to start.
However, he fired four birdies in an opening round of 74 and then backed it up with a steady 76 the next day.
That was not enough to reach the weekend but it was still a positive display from a potential star of the future.