Kurt Kitayama doesn’t win Scottish, but he joins 2 others in qualifying for Open. Kurt Kitayama did not come close to winning the Genesis Scottish Open on Sunday, but as far as consolation prizes go, there isn’t a greater one in professional golf than the one he received.
The prize package included a trip to the U.S. Open, where he will defend his title.
Kitayama, along with Jamie Donaldson and Brandon Wu, was one of the three golfers who earned a spot in the 150th Open Championship by virtue of their performance in the Open Qualifying Series. Kitayama was one of the three golfers who earned a spot in the tournament. St. Andrews is going to be the location of the tournament. One of the available spots in the field of 156 competitors at the Barbasol Championship is currently up for grabs, making it the last one. As there are no players in the field that are exempt from The Open, everyone is required to battle for this position in order to earn it.
Kitayama, who shot a final-round score of 4-under 66 at the Renaissance Club to finish at 6 under, one shot behind the winner from Scotland, Xander Schauffele, said, “Being the 150th, there’s a lot of hype around it, so I’m looking forward to that.” Kitayama finished at 6 under, one shot behind the winner from Scotland, Xander Schauffele. Kitayama crossed the finish line in second place. Schauffele was victorious in the competition.
Kitayama has competed in seven major tournaments in the past, most recently the Open Championship for the second year in a row. He has won the DPWT tournament not once, but twice, and he has recently finished in the top three times on the PGA Tour so far this season. He did not get past the first round in either of those Opens and prior to the Scottish Open, he had only advanced past the first round of one of the previous five events that he had competed in.
Donaldson, a former winner of the European Ryder Cup, finished in a tie for sixth place after shooting a final-round score of 67. Donaldson, who is presently ranked No. 208, has already completed this year with two top-10s, and his result on Sunday constituted his highest finish since he tied for second at the BMW PGA in September of last year. This year, Donaldson has already finished with this year with two top-10s. The golfer, who is now 46 years old, has played in eight Opens during his career, but he hasn’t taken part in a major competition since 2016. He has made the cut in six of those Opens.
After completing the tournament with a score of 67 in the final round, Wu ended up tied for sixth place. The former Stanford standout got off to a shaky start in his first season competing on the PGA Tour, failing to make the cut in ten of his first 11 events. However, he bounced back to finish in the top three twice in his subsequent four tournaments, bringing his overall finish for the season to two of the top five. This will be Wu’s fourth major competition overall, and his second time competing in the Open. Now that he has qualified for both of the summer Opens, he will be competing in them for the second time. He qualified for the U.S. Open at the beginning of this year as well.
In 2019, Wu created history by being the first amateur player since Joe Carr of Ireland in 1967 to qualify for both the U.S. Open and The Open in the same summer without being granted an exemption to either tournament. Carr had accomplished this feat in 1967. Carr was the final player to reach this milestone.
A bogey on the 18th hole by Alex Smalley, who will be playing with Wu in the 2019 Walker Cup foursomes, prevented him from bumping Wu and earning an Open exemption. Smalley and Wu will be playing together in the foursomes competition.