Before they clashed in a playoff to determine the Quicken Loans National, Kyle Stanley and Charles Howell III both knew they could book flights later this month to the Open.
Stanley edged Howell on the first extra hole to win the tournament, but together they claimed two of the four qualifying spots available at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm via the Open Qualifying Series. Stanley will return to the Open for the first time since missing the cut at Muirfield in 2013, while Howell will make his first trip since a T-64 finish at Royal Lytham in 2012.
Joining Stanley and Howell at Royal Birkdale will be Scotland’s Martin Laird, who closed with a 3-under 67 to share third place alongside Rickie Fowler. Laird will be making his sixth Open appearance and first since tying for 44th in 2013.
Fowler was already exempt for the Open, so the fourth spot went to the top player from the group tied for fifth. That turned out to be Sung Kang, whose world ranking entering the week (87th) barely edged out David Lingmerth (99th) and Keegan Bradley (101st), who finished alongside him at 4 under. Kang will be making his Open debut.
The Open Qualifying Series will continue next week, with the top three not otherwise exempt from the top 10 at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open earning spots. Additionally, there will be another four spots up for grabs for the highest finishers not otherwise exempt among the top 12 at The Greenbrier Classic.
The 146th Open will be held July 20-23 at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England.