Thailand’s Prom Meesawat earned his maiden appearance at The Open Championship after winning the International Final Qualifying Asia last Friday.
Prom, a one-time Asian Tour winner, fired a superb second round seven-under-par 65 for a two-day aggregate of 12-under-par 132 to lead Japanese veteran Tetsuji Hiratsuka, Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing and American Jason Knutzon into The Open at Royal St George’s in July.
Hiratsuka, whose three victories in Asia last season included two titles in Thailand, earned his second trip to the Open with the day’s best of 64 at Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi while Lam secured his third appearance with a bogey-free 67.
Prom Meesawat, seen here in action at the 2010 Indonesian Open, has qualified for this year’s British Open Championship to be played at Royal St George’s in July. (Photo/OneAsia)
Knutzon endured a nervous wait for the fourth and final spot after his 67 as overnight leader Kodai Ichihara had a chance to force a play-off. But the stocky Japanese missed his birdie chance on 18 to finish one shot shy of qualifying.
The 26-year-old Prom was delighted to earn his Major stripes. “It’s my first Major. I played very good the past two days. My driving and everything else was very good. I’ve been working hard with my coach and psychologist and I need to thank them.”
It was a welcome return to form for the former world amateur junior champion whose form dipped after finishing twice in the top-10 of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit in 2006 and 2007. With his successful qualifying campaign, Prom is now eyeing a memorable trip to Royal St George’s.
“My friends have been encouraging me all along when my form wasn’t good. It’s a good comeback for me. It’s a good feeling. I played to my strength on this course. I knew which holes to be cautious. To qualify for the oldest Major, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Hiratsuka, fifth on the Merit rankings last year, stormed home in 30 to book his first trip to the Open since 2004 when he finished tied 36th at Royal Troon. “I played well despite my body condition being not so good. But on the back nine, I played fantastic golf. I hit it close with my irons for some easy birdies,” said Hiratsuka.