Sunday, 23 June 2019
Robert Macintyre   (Getty Images)
Robert Macintyre (Getty Images)

Kurt Kitayama, David Lipsky, Robert MacIntyre, Richard Sterne and Erik van Rooyen will be teeing it up at next month's Open Championship after strong seasons so far on the 2019 Race to Dubai.

The quintet are the top five players in the top 20 of the Race to Dubai Rankings Presented by Rolex after the BMW International Open who are not already exempt for the season's final Major Championship.

Here, we take a look at their seasons so far and how they have earned their way to Royal Portrush Golf Club.

David Lipsky - 11th on the Race to Dubai

The American may not have made the fastest of starts to the campaign but as Christmas approached he gave himself the perfect present, winning the final event of 2018 at the Alfred Dunhill Championship. His second European Tour win has been followed by his best result at a World Golf Championships event with a tie for fifth at the WGC-Mexico Championship and two top fives in China and Morocco. Lipsky will be playing his third Open after teeing it up in 2015 and 2017. "I'm ecstatic, I'm really looking forward to it," he said. "We were there a couple of years ago for the Irish Open at Portstewart and I had a chance to drive by the course and it looked phenomenal. The Open is such a special tournament. There's nothing quite like it and I can't wait to get back."

Kurt Kitayama - 14th on the Race to Dubai

When Kitayama earned the fourth card at Qualifying School last year having played just one European Tour event, even the man himself may have forgiven you for asking, Kurt who? Well things have changed a lot since then, with a win at the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita coming in just his third event and another following soon after at the Oman Open. The  American has missed just four cuts in 17 events and will be making his Open debut in Northern Ireland. "I got to play my first Major this year at Bethpage and playing another one is awesome," he said. "I have played no golf in the UK so it will be good to play the Irish Open and Scottish Open before The Open Championship."

Robert MacIntyre - 15th on the Race to Dubai

After a stellar amateur career and professional win on the MENA Golf Tour, Scot MacIntyre earned his European Tour card via the European Challenge Tour last season. After a consistent start to the season, he really came to life in the spring, finishing second in both the Betfred British Masters and the Made in Denamrk presented by FREJA to fly up the Rankings. MacIntryre will be making his Open and Major debut in July but he knows a thing or two about Royal Portrush. "I'm over the moon," he said. "I thought the chance might never come up to get into The Open or a Major after losing the British Amateur final but here we are. If I was ever to win one Major, it would be The Open Championship, I'm just going to learn from it. I played Royal Portrush for Scotland, it's an unbelievable golf course and a course I know reasonably well for an Open, it couldn't have been a better one for me."

Richard Sterne - 16th on the Race to Dubai

Often the key to success is peaking at the right time and that has certainly been the case for Sterne. His runner up finish in a Rolex Series event at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA earned him 780 Race to Dubai points and the South African has also earned a top ten at the Trophée Hassan II. The six time European Tour winner will be making his eighth Open appearance after missing out last season.

Erik van Rooyen - 17th on the Race to Dubai

Van Rooyen made his Major debut with a top 20 at last season's Open and will tee it up next month having proved he can mix it at the very highest level with a top ten at last month's US PGA Championship. The South African has been knocking on the door of a maiden European Tour victory for a while and has finished second this season at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and the Trophée Hassan II.

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