Kurt Kitayama fell short of the victory Sunday at the Genesis Scottish Open, but as far as consolation prizes go, there isn't a better one in professional golf.
Kitayama was one of three players, along with Jamie Donaldson and Brandon Wu, who punched their tickets to the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews via the Open Qualifying Series. There is also one spot up for grabs, the final one for the 156-player field, at the Barbasol Championship, where no players in the field are exempt for The Open.
"Being the 150th, there's a lot of hype around it, so I'm looking forward to that," said Kitayama, who closed in 4-under 66 at the Renaissance Club to finish at 6 under, a shot back of Scottish winner Xander Schauffele.
Kitayama, a two-time DPWT winner who now owns three top-3 finishes on the PGA Tour this season, has played in seven previous majors, including Opens the last two editions. He missed the cut at both of those Opens, and he entered the Scottish having made just one of his past five weekends.
Donaldson, a former European Ryder Cupper, tied for sixth after a closing 67. Ranked No. 208, Donaldson now has two top-10s finishes this year, and his showing Sunday marked his best finish since a T-2 at the BMW PGA last September. The 46-year-old has made six of eight career Open cuts, though he hasn't played a major since 2016.
Wu also tied for sixth following a final-round 67. The former Stanford star missed 10 of his first 11 cuts to begin his rookie season on the PGA Tour, but he then posted two top-3 finishes in his next four starts. This will be Wu's fourth major and second Open. He also qualified for the U.S. Open earlier this year, and he now will play both summer Opens for the second time.
Back in 2019, Wu became the first amateur to qualify for the U.S. Open and The Open in the same summer, without the need of an exemption, since Ireland’s Joe Carr in 1967.
Wu's 2019 Walker Cup foursomes partner, Alex Smalley, bogeyed the par-4 18th hole to miss out on bumping Wu and earning an Open exemption.