Golf: 2017 SMBC S'pore Open to be included as part of British Open Qualifying Series

South Korean golfer Song Young Han with the champion trophy of the 2016 SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong Course on Feb 1, 2016.
South Korean golfer Song Young Han with the champion trophy of the 2016 SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong Course on Feb 1, 2016.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - Next year's SMBC Singapore Open has been included as part of The British Open Qualifying Series, organisers announced on Tuesday (Nov 15).

The two leading non-exempt players, who finish in the top ten or ties at the Sentosa Golf Club, will earn a coveted spot for the 146th Open at Royal Birkdale from July 20-23, 2017.

The US$1 million (S$1.4 million) tournament is one of Singapore's biggest golf tournaments and the Jan 19-22 event is headlined by three-time winner Adam Scott and Spanish star Sergio Garcia.

The British Open is one of golf's four Majors and is administered by The R&A. Its director for Asia Pacific Dominic Wall said: "The addition of two places in The Open will add an exciting new element to this fantastic event in Singapore and gives the players a huge incentive to compete for places in golf's oldest championship at Royal Birkdale next summer."

This year's edition of the Singapore Open was won by South Korean Song Young Han, who beat then world No. 1 Jordan Spieth by a single stroke.

The Singapore Open is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour. Patrick Feizal Joyce, vice-president of golf at event promoter Largadere Sports, said: "This move by The R&A further validates the SMBC Singapore Open as one of Asia's biggest and most important national Opens.

"It is also a brilliant reward for players to compete for at Sentosa that will help to contribute to an exciting week of golf."

A total of 44 places in The 146th Open are available through The Open Qualifying Series which is held worldwide.