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Kurt Kitayama among group advancing to St. Andrews via the Open Qualifying Series

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Kurt Kitayama among group advancing to St. Andrews via the Open Qualifying Series

    Written by Sean Martin @PGATOURSMartin

    NORTH BERWICK, Scotland – Kurt Kitayama’s consolation prize for a close call at the Genesis Scottish Open is a tee time at St. Andrews for The 150th Open.

    As the runner-up at Renaissance Club, Kitayama earned one of the three spots available at St. Andrews via the Open Qualifying Series. Former Ryder Cup hero Jamie Donaldson and another TOUR rookie, Brandon Wu, earned the other two.

    “After my two previous experiences, the goal is now to try and make the cut,” said Kitayama, who moved to 41st in the FedExCup with his third top-three finish of the season. “It’s just a different type of golf and you have to adapt.”

    The Open spots went to the top three finishers in the Genesis Scottish Open not already exempt into The Open, as long as they also finished in the top 10 on the leaderboard.

    Trey Mullinax also qualified for The Open Championship by winning the Barbasol Championship on Sunday, when he edged out Kevin Streelman by one shot after making birdie on the 72nd hole.

    Kitayama finished just a stroke behind Genesis Scottish Open winner Xander Schauffele after shooting 66 to take the clubhouse lead at 6 under. Kitayama, a two-time winner on the DP World Tour, will be making his third Open appearance.

    Donaldson used three back-nine birdies to finish T6. The Welshman, 46, felt a bogey at the par-5 16th could have proved costly but he did enough to secure a seventh appearance in The Open and his first since 2016. He tied for 49thin the last Open in St. Andrews in 2015.

    “It’s fantastic to be able to play St. Andrews again,” said Donaldson, who scored Europe’s clinching point in the 2014 Ryder Cup. “It’s difficult knowing you have to post a score to reach The Open.”

    Both Donaldson and Wu shot 67 on Sunday to jump 15 spots on the leaderboard into a tie for sixth. Wu finished more than two hours ahead of the leaders and watched as players struggled with Renaissance Club’s difficult closing hole. Rasmus Hojgaard and Alex Smalley both bogeyed 18 to allow Wu to secure his second Open appearance.

    Wu also played the 2019 Open after traveling to Scotland to qualify. He became the first amateur to qualify for both the U.S. Open and Open Championship since Ireland’s Joe Carr in 1967.

    “It’s honestly so incredible to be playing in The 150th Open at St. Andrews,” Wu said. “It’s so remarkable for me. I played well today but I just needed a little bit of help from others at the end.”

    Sean Martin manages PGATOUR.COM’s staff of writers as the Lead, Editorial. He covered all levels of competitive golf at Golfweek Magazine for seven years, including tournaments on four continents, before coming to the PGA TOUR in 2013. Follow Sean Martin on Twitter.

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