Westwood, 16-year-old earn Open berths in Thailand


A final-round 67 Sunday allowed Lee Westwood to extend his streak of 22 consecutive Open Championship appearances. 

The Thailand Golf Championship is the second event in the Open Qualifying Series, with the top four finishers not already exempt earning a spot next July at Royal Troon.

Jamie Donaldson won the event to punch his ticket, while Westwood’s bogey-free final round lifted him into a tie for second. First-year pro Clement Sordet and 16-year-old Phachara Khongwatmai secured the other two spots.

“I’ve played every one since 1995,” Westwood told reporters, “so it’s great to keep that run going. It’s been 21 years now and I’ve not missed one, so I’m happy. It’s my favorite championship of the year.”

Khongwatmai, who is already a winner on the Asian Tour’s developmental circuit, closed with 66 to finish solo sixth in Thailand. He was a Monday qualifier into the event.

“When I entered this event, I didn’t even consider the possibility of playing in the Open at Troon,” he said afterward. “I feel really honored to have this opportunity.”

Donaldson, who clinched the Ryder Cup for Europe in 2014, has played in each of the last four Opens, with a best showing of T-32 in 2013.