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Four South Africans qualify for Open in South Africa

Josh Cunliffe led the way at the end of British Open International Final Qualifying (IFQ) on Wednesday while fellow South African Hennie Otto booked his ticket in spectacular fashion with a last-hole eagle.

Cunliffe fired a second successive 65 for a 12-under tally of 130 to win by one stroke from compatriot Darren Fichardt (63). Otto (65) and Doug McGuigan completed a South African sweep of the four qualifying berths by finishing on 134.

Otto rolled in a 16-foot eagle putt at the 18th at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington to deny compatriots Ulrich van den Berg and Brandon Pieters, on 135, the chance of a playoff for the final spot on offer.

"I knew I needed an eagle to tie Doug," Otto told reporters. "I flew the fairway bunkers with a big drive but that was just half the job done.

"I then hit probably the best four-iron of my career up on to the green. It was still a bit nerve-wracking, standing over that putt. It breaks about three foot from left to right and it's quite pacy...I timed it just right."

Cunliffe, 25, carded eight birdies and two bogeys in his second round.

"I had a very specific game plan when I went out this morning and I stuck to it, in spite of the bogeys," he said. "Even when I got into trouble...it didn't upset my rhythm or planning."

The 36-hole competition was the first of five IFQ events on five different continents for the British Open at Royal Birkdale from July 17-20.

 

 




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