For the second consecutive year Michael Hendry has played his way into The Open Championship with a top-four finish at the Japan Tour’s Gateway to The Open Mizuno Open.
Hendry was outright second last year in grabbing a spot at Birkdale and shared second place this year as he booked a berth at Carnoustie in July.
Brendan Jones also came agonisingly close to also qualifying, the 14-time Japan Tour winner finishing alone in fifth but would have claimed an Open spot on World Rankings had he been part of the tie for fourth.
Only one player finished under par for the 72 holes, winner Shota Akiyoshi posting a 1-under total to win by a shot from Hendry and two others.
The Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki proved a difficult assignment for the field, a combination of length, thick rough and fast greens making birdies hard to come by.
Hendry will be pleased to have made The Open field but disappointed that a final hole bogey saw him miss a play-off for the title by a shot though he won’t be the only player rueing the tough finish.
Matt Griffin made back-to-back double bogeys on the final two holes to drop from 4-over to 8-over and from just outside the top-10 to a share of 27th place.
Won Joon Lee was best of the Australasians behind Hendry and Jones, his 5-over total for the 72 holes good for a share of 13th place.
The cut coming at 6-over was a testament to the difficulty of the course, Scott Strange, Aaron Wilkin and Brad Kennedy the other three Australasians to play all four days.
Strange finished 11-over and T42, Wilkin 12-over and T47 while Kennedy was 13-over for the week and T51.
Missing the cut were David Bransdon, Todd Sinnott and Andrew Evans.
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