HUGO, FICHARDT AND CUNLIFFE EARN PLACES AT 150TH ANNIVERSARY OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

Celebrating 150 years

For Immediate Publication

HUGO, FICHARDT AND CUNLIFFE EARN PLACES AT 150TH ANNIVERSARY OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

22 January 2010, Johannesburg, South Africa: Jean Hugo, Darren Fichardt and Josh Cunliffe have qualified for the 2010 Open after taking the top three positions at International Final Qualifying – Africa at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club in Johannesburg, South Africa, today. The South African trio will now look forward to taking their places at the 150th Anniversary Open Championship on 15-18 July in St Andrews.

With play having resumed on Friday after heavy rain had caused Thursday’s play to be abandoned, first-round leader Jean Hugo, 34, recovered from three consecutive bogeys at the start of his second round to post a level-par 71 and finish tied-first on six under par.

Seven-time Sunshine Tour winner Hugo will now look forward to making his third Open Championship appearance – the first two coming in 1999 at Carnoustie and in 2001 at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

Joining him on six under was Darren Fichardt, who qualified for his fifth Open Championship with rounds of 67 and 69. 34-year-old Fichardt made three consecutive birdies on the seventh, eighth and ninth holes to claim the outright lead and, despite dropped shots on 10 and 11, he earned his Open chance in relative comfort, two strokes ahead of the field.

Fichardt, two-time winner on the European Tour, will return to St Andrews 10 years after making his Major Championship debut there in the 2000 – he subsequently played in 2002, 2004 and in 2008, when he qualified through IFQ – Africa at the same venue.

The final Open Championship berth was decided by a playoff between Cunliffe, fellow South African Oliver Bekker and the Netherlands’ Joost Luiten. Cunliffe, who, like Fichardt, qualified for Royal Birkdale through IFQ – Africa in 2008, emerged with the place. He holed a 20-foot putt for eagle on the fourth extra hole, the 18th, after all three players made par, birdie, par on the first three.

The next International Final Qualifying event for The Open Championship, IFQ – Asia, will take place at Saujana Golf and Country Club near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 10 & 11 March.

The 2010 Open Championship will be held at St Andrews on 15-18 July.

Full hole-by-hole scores from IFQ – Africa are available on www.opengolf.com.

ENDS

Note to Editors

IFQ
International Final Qualifying (IFQ) events for The Open Championship were introduced in 2004 and are held on five continents to give more players from around the world the chance to gain direct entry into golf's oldest championship.

IFQ for the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews:

IFQ - Australasia: Kingston Heath, Melbourne, Australia, 14 & 15 January
IFQ - Africa: Royal Johannesburg & Kensington, South Africa, 20 & 21 January
IFQ - Asia: Saujana Golf and Country Club, Malaysia, 10 & 11 March
IFQ - America: Gleneagles, Plano, Texas, USA, 24 May
IFQ - Europe: Sunningdale, Berkshire, England, 7 June

The R&A
Based in St Andrews, The R&A is golf's governing body and organiser of The Open Championship. The R&A is committed to working for golf and operates with the consent of 138 organisations from the amateur and professional game and on behalf of over thirty million golfers in 124 countries.

Further information:

Rhodri Price
Assistant Director – Championships

Malcolm Booth
Assistant Director - Head of Communications
The R&A
Tel: +44 1334 460000