Hopkins qualifies for Joburg Open with 68
Jeff Hopkins tees it up under the watchful gaze of the late Wayne Westner

Jeff Hopkins tees it up under the watchful gaze of the late Wayne Westner

Royal Dublin's Jeff Hopkins fired a four-under-par 68 to finish tied fifth in the Joburg Open Qualifier at Houghton Golf Club.

The 25-year-old Skerries player, a student of the late Wayne Westner, made seven birdies and three bogeys to win one of 15 spots in this week's European Tour co-sanctioned event at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

Joburg Open Qualifier scoresJoburg Open tee-times

Hopkins joins Darren Clarke, Paul Dunne and Gareth Maybin in the field for the €1.19m event which was first played in 2007.

South Africa's Hayden Porteous won the event, and his maiden European Tour title, by two shots last year and earned his place in The Open as it is part of the Open Qualifying Series.

The Joburg Open is the third stop in the Series following the Emirates Australian Open in November and the SMBC Singapore Open last month.

This week's event will mark the fourth time that the Joburg Open has featured as part of The Open Qualifying Series.

Three players who finish in the top ten and ties, who are not already exempt, will earn places in the field in at Royal Birkdale from 16-23 July.

Darren Clarke is one of three players in the field who are already exempt alongside Haotong Li and Jbe Kruger

Clarke, who is making his sixth appearance in the Joburg Open this week, won The Open at Royal St George’s in 2011 after holding off the challenge from Americans Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson,

He has two top-five finishes in the Joburg Open, including finishing tied for second place in 2010.

Defending champion Porteous became the youngest winner of the event last year when he finished two shots clear of compatriot Zander Lombard.

Greystones' Dunne, who, as an amateur, shared the lead after the third round of The 144th Open at St Andrews, will be looking to qualify for The Open once again. 

After last year’s ninth place finish in the Joburg Open, he will be aiming to go a step further and lift the trophy.

The 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman will play in the Joburg Open for the second time and will be joined in the field by the 2009 PGA Champion YE Yang.