Jul 20, 2014; Wirral, GBR; Tiger Woods plays his second shot to the 7th hole during the final round at the 143rd Open Championship at The Royal Liverpool Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports
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Morrison’s 71, 68, 68, 70 got him to within three shots of Bernd Wiesberger’s winning 13-under par Sunday afternoon, gave him a solid second place finish at the Open de France, and will carry him all the way to St Andrews in a few days.
Morrison was euphoric as he anticipated tee time at the 2015 Open.
"“I cannot wait, it’s every boy’s dream. I played at Royal Lytham in 2012 but to play at St Andrews is even better. It’s the home of golf and I can’t wait to get there now. It is not easy to finish top five any week but to finish second and secure a place is even better.”"
With his win at the Open de España in May — coupled with his top-15 finishes at Abu Dhabi, the South African Open, the BMW PGA Championship and the BMW International Open — Morrison has been having a very good season. The Englishman is ranked 15th in the Race to Dubai. A solid performance at St Andrews could carry him further up the OWGR ranks.
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Van Zyl, who wasn’t able to find any birdies Sunday at Le Golf National, was nonetheless able to hold on to his advantage, finish the Open de France in a solo 3rd place, and climb onto the train to St Andrews as well.
The South African’s Open de France finish matches his earlier Trophee Hassan II finish and lines up nicely with a runner-up at the Joburg Open and a T6 at the Africa Open.
Van Zyl was equally enthusiastic about the opportunity his 3rd place Paris finish brought:
"“. . . securing a spot in The Open means a lot to me. . . I played in the US Open a couple of years ago but this is a very different feel and I am just looking forward to it.”"
Sitting at 36th in the Race to Dubai, a high finish at St Andrews would bring Van Zyl a solid career boost.
Cabrera-Bello saved his spot in the St Andrews field with a pair of stunning eagles coming home Sunday at the Open de France.
The Spaniard holed his second shot on the par four 12th for an eagle, birdied the next and then eagled the par five 14th. At the last hole, the two-time European Tour winner holed a 25-foot putt for a birdie which meant he played the back nine in just 29 shots. That took him to five under par for the tournament and was enough to secure the last qualifying place. He finished two shots behind Germany’s Martin Kaymer, who is exempt for The Open.
We saw sparks of that game at the Irish Open, where he finished T4 and again at the Lyoness Open where he finished in the runner-up position.
This week the Spaniard, who’s currently ranked 31st in the race to Dubai, didn’t fall off in the final round, as he did in Ireland and again at the Lyoness. Perhaps he can hold onto that stronger final round when he takes on the Old Course.
With Rory McIlroy injured and his ability to defend his Open Championship title currently in doubt, there are likely to be some unexpected opportunities for a dark horse within the St. Andrews field like Morrison, Van Zyl or Cabrera-Bello to emerge.