SOUTH AFRICA’S George Coetzee has secured his maiden European Tour title at the 2014 Joburg Open and, along with Melbourne resident Jin Jeong, a spot in the British Open.
After 24 top-ten finishes, Coetzee closed with a 6-under 66 to finish on 19-under, three shots ahead of compatriot Justin Walters, England’s Tyrell Hatton and Jeong.
“I don’t know what I’m feeling,” said the 27 year old Coetzee, whose victory came at his 107th attempt. “I’m lost for words. I’ve been waiting a while and I started doubting, so I’m very happy.”
Coetzee, Walters and Jeong secured the three British Open places up for graps at the event at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.
The Joburg Open was the second event in the new Open Qualifying Series consisting of 14 events in nine countries on five continents that gives players on the world’s leading Tours a chance to qualify for the 143rd Open Championship from 13-20 July at Royal Liverpool.
Jeong finished with a one under par 71 on Sunday to earn his share of second place and the third qualifying spot. He will return to The Open for the first time since 2010 at St Andrews when he earned the Silver Medal as the leading amateur in the field.
The 24-year-old South Korean, who moved to Melbourne in 2006, won his first event as a professional last year at the ISPS Handa Perth International and is looking forward to his second Open Championship.
“It means a lot to qualify here. I have dreamed of winning the Claret Jug. I have great memories of playing at St Andrews in 2010 so I’m looking forward to playing again,” said Jeong.
“It was one of the reasons I played here this week and I look forward to playing in another Major and enjoying the experience again.”
Coetzee, Walters and Jeong join Aussies John Senden, Rhein Gibson and Bryden Macpherson who won places in the Royal Liverpool field at the Australian Open last November.Joburg Open Leaderboard