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Dublin: 4°C Sunday 11 April 2021

Ireland's Kevin Phelan narrowly misses out on Joburg Open title but pockets €80,000

The Waterford man finished in a tie for second.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

DESPITE ACHIEVING THE best finish of his young career, there will have been mixed emotions for Ireland’s Kevin Phelan as he agonisingly missed out on a place at this year’s Open Championship.

The 24-year-old from Waterford produced a final round 66 to propel himself into contention at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club but finished one shot adrift of eventual winner Andy Sullivan.

Phelan was among a group of five locked on 15 under par but missed out on one of the three qualification berths for The Open by virtue of his world ranking.

Instead it was Sullivan, David Howell and Anthony Wall who secured the invites to St Andrew’s. Phelan did have the consolation of pocketing €80,600 in prize money as he moved into 50th place in the Race to Dubai standings.

“I was just kind of plodding along the first three days, played some nice golf but didn’t really hole that many putts, but got the putts to drop on the front nine today and gave myself a chance,” he said afterwards.

“It wasn’t enough but I am delighted with the way I played.”

He carded seven birdies on Sunday to assume the clubhouse lead but Sullivan, who also shot at closing 66, held his nerve, holing a tricky par putt on the last, to win his second European Tour title in as many months.

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The event was part of the Open Qualifying Series which gives those who aren’t already qualified the chance to secure a place in the field at the third Major of the year.

Phelan will get another opportunity to book his place at the Old Course at the Irish Open in May.

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Ryan Bailey

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