Another Open qualifying chance for Paul Dunne
 Paul Dunne in action at Leopard Creek Country Club in South Africa last November. Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Paul Dunne in action at Leopard Creek Country Club in South Africa last November. Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Paul Dunne will have a chance to secure his third Open Championship appearance in a row and his first as a professional when he finally gets 2016 underway in this week's Joburg Open.

Illness forced the Greystones player to withdraw before the start of last week's BMW SA Open. But he's expected to tee it up at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington, where he will be trying to win the tournament and one of three places at Royal Troon via the Open Qualifying Series.

The leading three players, who finish in the top 10 and ties and who are not already exempt, will earn a place in The Open from 14-17 July.

Dunne qualified via Final Qualifying at Woburn both in 2014 and last year, when he went on to play brilliantly and joint lead into the final round over the Old Course at St Andrews, eventually finishing tied 30th after a 78.

The 23-year old is keen to build on that experience and also to win on the European Tour. And the Joburg Open, where he will tee it up on the East Course today with South Africans Breyten Meyer and Andrew Curlewis, could be a good place to start.

There are just four of the world's top 100 in the field while the Irish challenge is completed by Michael Hoey, Ruaidhri McGee and Kevin Phelan.

Players in the field at the 2016 Joburg Open who are already exempt for The Open at Royal Troon are Ernie Els, David Howell, Paul Lawrie and Jaco Van Zyl

In the event of a tie for a qualifying place, the player with the higher ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) at the beginning of the week commencing 11 January will be awarded a place at Royal Troon.

A total of 44 places in The Open are available through The Open Qualifying Series (TOQS), which gives players the opportunity to qualify at events around the world on the PGA TOUR, the European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Asian Tour, the Japan Golf Tour and the Sunshine Tour.

The Emirates Australian Open was the first chance for players to secure a place in golf’s most international Major Championship, followed by the Thailand Golf Championship in December 2015. The Series continues at the Joburg Open in South Africa in January and the Mizuno Open in Japan in May.

Three events on the European Tour are included in the Series, the Nordea Masters, the ALSTOM Open de France and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. On the PGA TOUR, the FedEx St Jude Classic, the Quicken Loans National and the Greenbrier Classic will all offer places in The Open.

The Open Qualifying Series (TOQS) will offer the following qualification places in The 145TH Open:

The Open Qualifying Series

Event No of places Detail

  • TOQS-Australia — Emirates Australian Open 3. Three places to the leading three players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 10 and ties
  • TOQS-Thailand — Thailand Golf Championship 4. Four places to the leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 12 and ties
  • TOQS-South Africa — Joburg Open 3. Three places to the leading three players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 10 and ties
  • TOQS-Japan — Mizuno Open 4. Four places to the leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 12 and ties
  • TOQS-Sweden — The Nordea Masters 1. One place to the leading player (not otherwise exempt) who finishes in the top five and ties
  • TOQS-France — ALSTOM Open de France 4. Four places to the leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 12 and ties
  • TOQS-Scotland — Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open 4. Four places to the leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 12 and ties
  • TOQS-USA — FedEx St Jude Classic 4. Four places to the leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 12 and ties
  • TOQS-USA — Quicken Loans National 4. Four places to the leading four players (not otherwise exempt) who finish in the top 12 and ties
  • TOQS-USA — The Greenbrier Classic 1. One place to the leading player (not otherwise exempt) who finishes in the top five and ties
  • TOQS-Final Qualifying — Gailes Links, Hillside, Royal Cinque Ports, Woburn (Marquess') 12. Three places available at each venue

NB: Any player who has qualified through The Open Qualifying Series is deemed an exempt player. In the event that that player subsequently fulfils other exemption categories those places in the starting field will be subject to Section F of The Open Entry Form.