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South Africans claim first Open spots

South African players claimed all four qualifying spots for the Open that were on offer at Africa's International Final Qualifying tournament.

James Kingston was the runaway winner after two days at the Atlantic Beach Golf Club in Cape Town, finishing three shots clear of the 59-strong field.

He will be joined at Royal Troon in July by Grant Muller, Louis Oosthuizen and Tjaart van der Walt.

Muller beat Bruce Vaughan on the first play-off hole to claim the fourth spot.

The remaining IFQ competitions will be held over the coming months in Australia, Malaysia, Britain and America.

The idea behind the scheme is to make it more convenient and less expensive for overseas players to qualify.

Kingston carded 69 on a day when the strong wind played havoc with many of the players' games.

He was head and shoulders above the rest of the field and his elation at making the Open field was clear.

"It's great to know that I'm going to be in the Open," Kingston said.

"It makes a big difference to your schedule knowing that you are in the field because now I won't have to play at some event that I don't want to just to earn enough money to be high enough on the Order of Merit to make it."

Van der Walt secured his berth thanks to a final-round 71 that brought him alongside overnight pace-setter Oosthuizen.

The 21-year-old Oosthuizen ended with an even-par 72 after struggling with the conditions but was still delighted to have qualified for the 133rd rendition of the most prestigious championship in the world.

Muller was elated as well, especially after he had struggled to beat Vaughan, who had to use a golf cart to make it around the course.

Vaughan, who is recovering from his third knee operation in the last year, shot a 69 to force a play-off.

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