21 May 2010, Plano, Texas, USA: On Monday, Rickie Fowler, the former World Amateur Golf Ranking number one who has had four top-ten finishes on the PGA Tour in 2010, will attempt to earn his Open debut at International Final Qualifying – America. Also bidding to secure their places in the 150th Anniversary Open Championship will be Fred Couples, the 50-year-old who finished sixth at this year’s Masters Tournament and Davis Love III, a veteran of 23 consecutive Open Championships, who successfully qualified at IFQ last year.
“This is my first attempt to qualify for The Open,” said 21-year-old PGA Tour rookie Fowler, the current world number 54, who concluded his amateur career last September by earning four points out of four for the USA in the 2009 Walker Cup Match.
“I have done well in qualifiers in the past, having qualified for the US Open twice. I am looking forward to the chance to play in my first Open. Links golf is one of my favourites if not my favourite, so I look forward to this opportunity.”
A field of 78, which currently includes 21 of the world’s top 100 players, will play 36 holes of the 6856-yard, par-70 Queens Course at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas, to determine which of them will earn one of the eight places available at golf’s oldest Major Championship.
Current world number 68 Rory Sabbatini of South Africa has played in the last seven Open Championships, with his best result, tied-26th, coming at Royal Liverpool in 2006.
“I love playing The Open,” said the 2009 Byron Nelson Champion. “It is a true test of golf. Playing it is definitely a challenge and I look forward to it every year.
“I have actually never played at Gleneagles Country Club. I drove around it last week to get a look at it,” added Sabbatini.
Gleneagles Country Club, a venue which is conveniently located to tie into the Tour’s Texas swing, lies only 20 miles from the TPC Four Seasons Resort, where the Byron Nelson Championship is currently being played. Following IFQ, players will travel the 50 miles to Fort Worth for the Crown Plaza Invitational at the Colonial.
Charley Hoffman, who has made two previous Open appearances, in 2007 at Carnoustie and in 2009 at Turnberry, said: “I have never played Gleneagles Country Club, but I have walked around and looked at it. The Open is a tournament you always want to play every year and being back at St Andrews is something you want to be part of. Getting into The Open is a high priority for me.”
Other notable names due to contest eight Open Championship berths on Monday include 2008 US Ryder Cup player JB Holmes, India’s Jeev Milkha Singh and Martin Laird, Scotland’s highest-ranked golfer.
Play will get underway at 7.00am local time from two tees. Live scores and stories will be published on www.opengolf.com throughout the day.