South Korea’s Eric Chun, runner-up at last November’s Asian Amateur Championship, will make his Major Championship debut at the 150th Anniversary Open Championship, after qualifying earlier today (Thursday).
Thanks to his second-place finish at the inaugural Asian Amateur, which was held at Mission Hills Golf Club, China, Chun, along with his compatriot and Asian Amateur Champion Han Chang-won, was awarded a place at Open Championship International Final Qualifying – Asia, an opportunity that he grabbed with both hands.
Having completed 18 of the 36 qualifying holes in 67 shots, the current World Amateur Golf Ranking number 30 began the second day tied for third place with Japan’s Hiroyuki Fujita, who would go on to top the leaderboard at 11 under par. By the time he reached the tee on the 36th and final hole, however, Chun was still on five under par, now alongside three other players.
A remarkable approach shot to six feet under pressure left him with an opportunity to claim his place at St Andrews, and he held his nerve to sink the birdie putt and turn a dream into reality.
“I have never been so nervous in my life and I’m just happy it worked out well,” said the Northwestern University sophomore, who turned 20 on Monday. “I was really patient today and that was the key for me. Every putt I had out here these two days were as important as my last putt. All these other good putts led me to this opportunity.
“I haven’t played at St Andrews before or been anywhere near there! So I’m looking forward to it. I’ve only seen it on television and heard about it so to play there is amazing.”
Chun’s successful qualification means that both the winner and runner-up at the inaugural Asian Amateur Championship will be playing Major Championship golf in 2010. Chun will take to the Old Course at St Andrews in July, while 2009 Champion Han Chang-won will compete at Augusta National in next month’s Masters Tournament.