Age proved to be nothing more than a number at the SMBC Singapore Open, as a 17-year-old and a 50-year-old were among four golfers to qualify for the 146th Open at Royal Birkdale.
The tournament, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Tour, was won by 50-year-old Prayad Marksaeng, who shot a final-round 67 to lift the trophy. He'll be making his sixth career Open appearance, but first since missing the cut at Royal Lytham in 2012.
"I'm so happy," said Marksaeng, who will also play in the Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl this summer. "Before I came down to Singapore, a lot of Thai people believed in me and I am just so proud to be in The Open and to make the Thai people proud of me also."
Joining him in England in July will be 17-year-old Phachara Khongwatmai, who tied for second one shot behind Marksaeng. Despite his youth, Khongwatmai brings with him plenty of experience, having earned his first professional win at age 14 and having played in last year's Open at Royal Troon, where he missed the cut.
Rounding out the quartet of qualifiers were South Africa's Jbe Kruger, who will make his second Open appearance and first since 2012, and South Korea's Younghan Song, who won in Singapore a year ago and now will make his Open debut.
This was the second event of The Open Qualifying Series, which continues throughout the year as a means of gaining access to golf's oldest major. The next qualifier will be held at the Joburg Open Feb. 23-26, where the top three players not otherwise exempt among the top 10 will earn spots.