Open Championship Field Rounds Into Shape
Quietly, in the background, seemingly out of respect by leaving the spotlight for the three 2023 major championships that have been played so far, the 151st Open Championship has been adding players to its field.
Included in the Open Championship's Open Qualifying Series - seven tournaments across three tours - are three from the PGA Tour - the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Wells Fargo Championship, and the Memorial.
Each comes with three Open qualifying spots "on offer" for the highest three finishers, otherwise not previously exempt.
At the Memorial, Andrew Putnam (5th), Adam Schenk (T7) and Lee Hodges (T12) earned their way into the field that will play for the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool.
Putnam, who has a 2nd-place finish at the Zozo Championship last October and a T4 at the Sony Open in January among four Top-10 finishes this season. He currently ranks 37th in the FexEd Cup Standings.
"I tell everyone that (the Open Championship) is my favorite tournament that I've ever played," said Putnam, who carries a ball marker and divot repair tool from Royal Portrush, where he played his first Open Championship in 2019.
Schenk, currently 30th in the FedExCup standings, appears to be on the verge of a breaking out, thanks to a pair of near-misses this spring.
The 31-year-old finished 2nd at the Valspar Championship in March, then settled for 2nd at the Charles Schwab Challenge after losing a playoff to Emiliano Grillo.
"I've never played overseas and it will be incredible to be there," said Shenk after the Memorial.
Hodges, currently 73rd in the FedExCup standings, has a pair of Top-10 finishes this season, including a T6 at the Valero Texas Open.
The Open changed a rule regarding exemptions this year, awarding exemptions to the next non-exempt golfer in a case when, prior to June 1, a player becomes exempt under one or more categories.
Players who qualified for the 151st Open Championship earlier this year through this rule change were: Kurt Kitayama, Harris English, Wyndham Clark, Trey Mullinax and Ben Griffin.