Quartet earn Open Championship bow

3/1/2013 9:27:00 AM
Kiradech Aphibarnrat   (Getty Images)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Getty Images)
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Hideki Matsuyama, Daisuke Maruyama and Wu Ashun each secured a debut appearance in The Open Championship in July after coming through the International Final Qualifying – Asia.

Thai rising star Kiradech topped the 36-hole qualifier with a flawless nine under par 63 to reach 13 under par, while Japanese amateur Matsuyama, a two-time Asia Pacific Amateur Championship winner, finished four shots back following a 69 at the Amata Spring Country Club.

Maruyama, also of Japan, and China’s Wu closed with 65 and 68 respectively for tied third to claim the final tickets to the season’s third Major, which will be held at Muirfield from July 18-21.

Siddikur agonisingly missed out on qualifying after he sent his tee shot into the water on the par three 17 and ended up with a double bogey.

Kiradech, 23, said: “I’m glad I achieved my first dream in golf which is to play in a Major Championship. I want to do my best at The Open. It will be the biggest challenge and event in my life.

“I’ve definitely improved a lot while playing on the Asian Tour. I’ve gained a lot of experience through the years and earning an appearance in a Major shows just how far my career has come.”

Highly rated Matsuyama will make his third appearance in a Major, having played in the Masters Tournament in 2011 and 2012.

“I’m excited and happy because I made it,” said the 21 year old. “After the 16th and 17th I told myself to calm down, which I did. I’m pleased with the way I handled myself out there. This is my first appearance at The Open and I can’t wait for it.

“I gained a lot of experience when I played in the Masters and it improved my game and maturity. I’m sure I’ll become even better after playing in The Open.”

Maruyama, a two-time Asian Tour winner, made an impressive charge up the leaderboard with a round of eight birdies and one bogey to qualify for his first Major.

“My goal was to shoot seven under and I hit that target,” he said. “I turn 42 soon and I told myself that I need to qualify for The Open before I hang up my clubs. I’m really proud of my achievement today.” 

After two shots on the ninth, Wu made a charge with four birdies on the back nine to become the second Chinese player after Liang Wenchong to play in The Open Championship.

“I’m very happy with my performance,” said Wu. “Everybody wants to play in The Open, including me. I told my coach last month that I dreamt I qualified for The Open and it came true.”