Top 30 for Dunne; Fichardt, Manley and Waring clinch spots in The Open

Top 30 for Dunne; Fichardt, Manley and Waring clinch spots in The Open
 Darren Fichardt, Paul Waring and Stuart Manley qualify for The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale. Credit:  The R&A

Darren Fichardt, Paul Waring and Stuart Manley qualify for The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale. Credit:  The R&A

Paul Dunne moved into the Top 50 in the Race to Dubai when he finished 23rd in the weather-shortened Joburg Open.

South Africa's Darren Fichardt sank a two-footer for birdie on the 18th for a 68 and a one-shot win over Stuart Manley (67) of Wales and England’s Paul Waring (69) on 15-under-par at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington.

Dunne carded a four-under-par 69 to finish six shots adrift, picking up €10,523 to sit at 50th in Race to Dubai with €90,432 having racked up four top-30 finishes from seven starts this season.

The Greystones star, 24, has played 35 European Tour events as a professional and made €442,248 for an average payday of €12,635.

As for Fichardt, he bogeyed the 17th on the East course but got the birdie four he needed at the 18th to secure the win a place in July’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale alongside Manley and Waring.

It was 41-year old Fichardt's 15th Sunshine Tour victory, and his fifth European Tour win.

The South African will make his sixth appearance in The Open this July and his first since he played at St Andrews in 2010 when countryman Louis Oosthuizen became Champion Golfer of the Year.

Waring, who hails from Merseyside, will become a local favourite when he returns to The Open for the first time since it was last staged at the famous Southport links in 2008. 

His round started in perfect fashion when he eagled on the first to take the lead.

Four further birdies raised hopes of a first professional title, but three bogeys denied him the opportunity to clinch the win.

Manley will make his debut in The Open after carding a 67 to qualify for his first major championship. 

The Welshman equalled his best-ever finish in a professional event following a second place finish at the Hong Kong Open in 2013.

The next event in The Open Qualifying Series is the Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open in Japan from 25-28 May. 

Four players who finish in the top 12 and ties, and who are not otherwise exempt, will earn places at The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale.

Darren Fichardt

“I love Royal Birkdale and I am really looking forward to The Open. I’ve played in The Open six times before but not had much success, unfortunately.

“It’s a real honour to be in there already, and you can start planning for it. Normally with pre-qualifying, you only have two weeks, so it’s good to have qualified already.”

Paul Waring

“I’m absolutely made up to be going back to Royal Birkdale. I’ve got some great memories from there; I played on the Sunday with [Phil] Mickelson last time so I am more than happy to be going back there.

“It’s always great to play in The Open and at that level. I can’t wait. Hopefully, we’ll get some better weather than 2008. It would be nice to get my hands on it [Claret Jug].”

Stuart Manley

“I’m really chuffed to be playing in my first Major; I’m really excited. I’ve been trying for many years through pre-qualifying so to get there I’m pretty pleased.

“The Open is massive and I can’t wait to get my teeth stuck into that golf course. I’ve never experienced anything as big as The Open before, but I can’t wait for it.”