Sergio Garcia will miss his first Open Championship in 25 years

Sergio Garcia - Sergio Garcia will miss his first Open Championship in 25 years
This year’s tournament takes place at Royal Liverpool for the first time since 2014, when Sergio Garcia was second to Rory McIlroy – Getty Images/Peter Byrne

Sergio Garcia will miss his first Open Championship in 25 years after failing horribly in the final qualifier yesterday, but Matt and Alex Fitzpatrick will become the first professional English brothers to appear in the same major in over half a century at Hoylake this month. this.

Alex joined the paid ranks less than a year ago but the 24-year-old will make his major debut on the Wirral links by having him play alongside his brother, who is four years his senior and, in 9th world rank, 523 places. higher in the ranking.

Alex shot a brilliant afternoon from seven under 65 in West Lancashire to reach nine under and thus snatch one of the five places offered in this field of 72 players.

Matt was quick with his congratulations and emphasized family symmetry. “Ten years ago I qualified for the Open for the first time,” he tweeted. “Today my brother did the same thing. I couldn’t be prouder and can’t wait to play the same major as him.

Matt Wallace’s West Lancashire Under-11 total was the lowest of the four courses that staged final qualification. As a multiple DP World Tour winner who finished third at the 2019 US PGA, a significant gallery followed Wallace to the famous links just north of Liverpool.

But the biggest crowd focused on Garcia, the 2017 Masters champion, who was taking the scenic route to the Open for the first time since making his debut as European amateur champion, at the skinny age of 16 at Lytham in 1996.

For much of a marathon day, it seemed likely that Garcia would repeat his feat in Dallas in June, when he advanced to the final stage of the US Open, where he ultimately finished 27th.

Still, after standing just two off the pace after his morning 65, he struggled to an under 71 and missed by three strokes. Garcia was optimistic afterwards, despite failing to qualify for just the second time in the 98 majors since turning pro in 1999.

“It’s a shame but that’s the game,” he said. “I felt like I had it handy, but that’s the way it is.”

While other Ryder Cup veterans such as Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter opted to skip qualifying to focus on this week’s LIV event at the Centurion Club in St Albans, two-time Open runner-up Garcia , felt he had made the right choice.

There were 17 LIV golfers at the quartet of venues, ranging from Dundonald Links in North Ayrshire to Royal Porthcawl in South Wales. Only three advanced. Charl Schwartzel progressed from Royal Cinque Ports, as did another South African, Branden Grace.

Bath’s Laurie Canter was the other LIV golfer to take her place, winning by four strokes at Porthcawl.

Still, perhaps the widest smile came from Matthew Jordan, a 27-year-old who is a product of Hoylake. “Playing with Sergio and being able to compete in an Open on my home course is a dream come true,” he said.

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