Scott Stallings will be making his Open Championship debut at Muirfield. (Cannon/Getty Images)
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Scott Stallings won’t be able to defend his title at the Sanderson Farms Championship, but he has a good reason for his absence. Stallings earned a spot in his first Open Championship on Sunday.
Stallings got into the field for Muirfield when Phil Mickelson won the Scottish Open. Two slots in the Open Championship field were being held for the winners of the Scottish Open and John Deere Classic. The winner of either championship earns a spot in the Open Championship. However, the spot is filled by an alternate if the winner already is in the field.
“It’s with mixed emotions that I will not be able to return to Madison to defend my title at this year’s Sanderson Farms Championship,” Stallings said. “The decision was a difficult one, but as I pursue my dream of a major championship title, I’ve decided to go for the chance to compete in the Open Championship. I cannot thank the tournament staff and volunteers enough for the hospitality they extended to myself and fellow competitors last year. The event is a first class one, and I was thrilled beyond words to learn of Sanderson Farms taking over as the title sponsor of a very worthy tournament. I wish you all the best for a wonderful week.”
Last year’s Sanderson Farms Championship was Stallings’ second PGA TOUR victory. Stallings, 28, is No. 25 in this year’s FedExCup standings after posting four top-five finishes.
Stallings also got into this year’s U.S. Open as an alternate. He finished 53rd in his debut in the championship.
Jordan Spieth earned a spot in The Open Championship with his John Deere Classic victory. That left Joost Luiten as the first alternate and Charles Howell III as the second alternate.