Brilliant Johnston seals emotional Open return

Andrew Johnston carded the lowest round of his European Tour career to seal his place at The Open Championship on an emotional final day of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

Andrew Johnston

Beef revealed in last week's European Tour Player Blog presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car that he has been struggling with mental health issues recently after his rapid rise to fame in the last few years.

The Englishman's outgoing personality and trademark look have made him one of the most popular figures in golf but he admitted in his blog that that had all come at a price.

Now working with psychologist Ben Davies, engaged to partner Jodie and with a baby on the way, Johnston is on the road to recovery, and that showed as he carded a stunning closing 62 at the third Rolex Series event of the season to earn a spot at Royal Portrush Golf Club alongside Frenchman Benjamin Hebert and Italy's Nino Bertasio.

"It's a nice feeling," he said fighting back the tears. "I guess it's been a hard year so I'm happy. The reaction I've had has been amazing and I can't thank everyone enough for that.

"Life's good and even if golf doesn't go too well, I have a great fiancée and I have a baby on the way so I'm happy.

"I've tried so hard in the last year and to come out and shoot a score like that is such a nice feeling.

“It’s a great feeling to qualify for The Open as I love to be playing in the big events, it’s such a special championship. I have great memories from it as well so I can’t wait to be playing in it again and have a crack at it next week."

Frenchman Hebert lost in a play-off to Bernd Wiesberger at The Renaissance Club but as one of the top three players in the top ten not already exempt, he will be playing the Open for the first time since 2008 when he was an amateur.

"It was a goal for me actually this season to play in a Major," he said. “I played Royal Portrush in the 2012 Irish Open and it is a tough course. A lot will depend on the weather conditions next week.

Benjamin Hebert

"I’m playing really good and hitting the ball quite well so we will see how I can do. It is a different style of golf. I like the ocean, actually, as I surf a little bit and I’m happy on links golf courses.”

Bertasio finished at 19 under alongside Johnston - three shots behind Hebert - and will be making his Major Championship debut in Northern Ireland.

“I’m delighted," he said. "It’s been a great week and I now play in my first Major and my first Open. I’m really excited for next week.

"I’ve heard nice things about Royal Portrush. As a kid growing up, I wouldn’t miss watching The Open, it is probably the best Major for me and my favourite championship.”