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Walk-off eagle sends Spaniard to The Open; Justin Rose among other final qualifiers

Angel Hidalgo arrived at the par-4 ninth hole Tuesday afternoon at Dundonald Links one shot out of a likely playoff for a place in the Open Championship.

The 26-year-old Spaniard, who is ranked No. 389 in the world, didn’t just gain one shot; he gained two, holing out from 120 yards for eagle to shoot 3-under 69, get in the clubhouse at 5 under and secure his first major-championship berth.

Also advancing out of Dundonald, the only Scottish site of four Open final qualifiers, were England’s Sam Hutsby (8 under) and amateur Liam Nolan (5 under) of Ireland. Scotland’s Jack McDonald punched the fourth ticket via a 3-for-1 playoff with fellow Scot Daniel Young and Sweden’s Tim Widing; McDonald drained a 25-footer for birdie on the first extra hole.

England’s Justin Rose tied for fourth and was low amateur in his Open debut back in 1998. Since then Rose has played 20 Open Championships, though he missed the 2022 edition at St. Andrews because of a back injury. Rose earned his way into his 21st Open on Tuesday at Burnham and Berrow, firing an 8-under total to share medalist honors with fellow Englishman Dominic Clemons, the amateur who recently lost in the final of the British Amateur and prior to that transferred from Stetson to Alabama.

“There was obviously huge motivation,” Rose said afterward. “The Open has been a bit of a fairytale and love story for me since I was 14, to be honest with you. The Open has always been super special and you can kind of take it for granted. As you get a little older, things get harder, and in a way I think it’s a good thing to happen [having to qualify] as it makes you appreciate how special it is.”

There was a 3-for-2 playoff at Burnham and Berrow involving LIV players Abraham Ancer and Anirban Lahiri, plus 26-year-old Swede Charlie Lindh. Lahiri bogeyed the first extra hole after missing the green left, leaving Ancer and Lindh as the advancing players along with Rose and Clemons.

Out of West Lancashire, three Englishmen – LIV player Sam Horsfield (6 under), LSU junior Matty Dodd-Berry (6 under) and Daniel Brown (5 under) – advanced, as did Japan’s Masahiro Kawamura. Horsfield played in back-to-back Opens, in 2017 and 2018, tying for 67th at Royal Birkdale. Kawamura was T-38 at the 2018 Open. Dodd-Berry and Brown will be making their major debuts.

Sergio Garcia, who admittedly was rattled by being put on the clock amid large crowds in his first round, came up two shots short of qualifying at West Lancs, as did fellow LIV member Carlos Ortiz.

England’s Matthew Southgate led the way at Royal Cinque Ports with a 6-under total to qualify for his sixth Open. Southgate owns three top-25s at The Open, including a T-6 in 2017. Elvis Smylie, a 22-year-old Australian, and Spanish amateur Jamie Montojo, who plays college golf at Texas A&M, each shot 3 under to qualify.

Montojo’s fellow Spanish amateur, world No. 36 Luis Masaveu, earned the fourth spot in a 3-for-1 playoff, draining a long birdie putt on the second extra hole to eliminate LIV player Branden Grace and England’s Jamie Rutherford. Both Masaveu and Montojo belong to Royal Club La Moraleja in Madrid.

Masaveu was also reportedly using an old set of clubs, including a putter he hadn’t gamed in a couple years and no 3-wood, after losing his usual set two weeks ago following the British Amateur in Denmark.

Among those not advancing out of Royal Cinque Ports were Belgium’s Thomas Detry, who is ranked No. 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking and missed by four, and LIV’s Eugenio Chacarra who carded a split of 68-77 and ended up three out of the playoff.