Stricker headlines quartet of Open Champ. qualifiers

Steve Stricker was among four players who punched tickets to next month’s Open Championship this week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

Stricker skipped the Open multiple times during the prime of his career for personal reasons, but now at age 49 he has earned a spot in the field at Royal Troon after a closing 67 gave him a share of second alongside Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka. He last played the Open in 2012.

There were four spots available at TPC Southwind as part of the Open Qualifying Series. One of those spots went to Brian Gay, who hasn’t played in the Open since 2010. Gay missed the entire 2014-15 season because of injury and had missed the cut in six of nine starts this season. But after a final-round 66, the 44-year-old finished sixth for his first top-10 finish since the 2013 RSM Classic.

The other players to qualify for Royal Troon were former PGA Tour winners Russell Henley and Seung-Yul Noh, both of whom tied for seventh. Henley will be making his fourth straight Open appearance, while Noh hasn’t played since 2011.

Four more spots in the Open will be available to top finishers not otherwise exempt at the Quicken Loans National, while one additional spot will be available at The Greenbrier Classic.

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