Robert Rock put his Irish Open disappointment to one side as he welcomed the chance to return to The Open for the first time since 2016.
Rock endured a frustrating final day at Lahinch, where he led overnight before stumbling to a level-par 70 to finish three behind two-time champion Jon Rahm, but he sought solace from the consolation he had done enough to qualify for the final major of the year at Royal Portrush.
Irish Open runner-up Bernd Wiesberger and Rock’s fellow Englishman Paul Waring grabbed the other two places on offer for The 148th Open in less than a fortnight, and Rock is looking forward to making his eighth appearance in the event.
“I didn’t know this is going to be my eighth Open Championship, so it’s just nice to be playing another,” said Rock, who came within inches of carding a 59 in a stunning third round at Lahinch that he hopes will galvanise him for the rest of the season.
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“I’m looking forward to playing another Open, and I didn’t know whether I would get to play in any more. I have had a couple of good finishes, my best being at St Andrews, which is a nice venue to play well at, and Portrush will be amazing, I get a nice bit of support around here.”
Waring will make only his fourth Open start having made his debut back in 2007 after he birdied four of the last six holes at Lahinch to deny Martin Kaymer, who now needs a big performance in Scotland next week to avoid missing The Open for the first time in 11 years.
“I am absolutely gobsmacked to be honest,” said Waring, 34. “I thought I had to go one more but to birdie the last to get in is absolutely fantastic, and I am really looking forward to it.
“I played Royal Portrush at the Irish Open in 2012 so it will be nice to get back there. I have some nice memories so looking forward to competing there for The Open. I remember the crowds were unbelievable, and I believe The Open is sold out already so the atmosphere is going to be fantastic.”
Wiesberger was unable to compete at Carnoustie last year due to a wrist injury that sidelined him for much of 2018, but the Austrian will be teeing up at Portrush having finished runner-up alongside Andy Sullivan at Lahinch.
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