BRANDON STONE WAS denied a piece of golf history earlier as he missed a putt to card the European Tour’s first 59 at the Scottish Open, though he prevailed to earn a place at next week’s Open Championship.
The South African had put himself in contention to earn a spot at Carnoustie after a second-round 64 and a third-round 66 at Gullane.
But he saved his best for the final 18 holes, eight birdies and an eagle at the 16th, which came courtesy of a magnificent long-range putt, taking him within a gain of the Tour’s first sub-60 score.
He made par on 17 and his approach left him with an eight-foot putt for 59 on the last.
However, his effort curved just to the left at the final moment, perhaps leaving Stone with mixed emotions at the end of a marvellous 20-under par performance from a player who went into the event having missed nine cuts in 2018 while recording just two top-40 finishes.
Eddie Pepperell will join him at The Open as he took second, finishing four shots off the pace after a closing 64, while overnight leader Jens Dantorp secured the final qualification place.
Dantorp had fallen off the pace as he struggled for consistency as Stone excelled, but a birdie at the 16th proved crucial.
The gain took him to 15 under, tied for fourth with Luke List and Trevor Immelman. However, world number 59 List was already sure of a place at the year’s third major, meaning it is Dantorp who will go to Carnoustie, the Swede winning an Official World Golf Ranking tiebreaker over 2008 Masters champion Immelman.
Thomas Pieters and Rickie Fowler will be encouraged by their form going into the Open after finishing tied sixth at 14 under. World number three Justin Rose (13 under) and Masters champion Patrick Reed (10 under), also impressed along with Tyrrell Hatton (13 under).