Sergio Garcia‘s quest to play in his 25th straight Open Championship ended Tuesday when he failed to qualify for the season’s fourth major.
Playing in a qualifier at West Lancashire Golf Club, Garcia shot a 5-under 67 in the morning round of the 36-hole competition. But after taking the lead at 8 under following three birdies in the first six holes of the second round, Garcia couldn’t keep up the pace.
Garcia, 43, hit his drive into the rough on the par-4 seventh hole and he wound up with a bogey on his way to a 71 and a cumulative 6-under par.
He finished tied for sixth after 36 holes, with only the top five finishers qualifying for The Open, which begins July 20 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Merseyside, England.
“I haven’t really missed many majors since turning pro in 1999, just one because of COVID and the PGA a couple of months ago and unfortunately I’m going to miss this one,” Garcia said.
“It’s a shame but it’s the game. I felt I had it close, in the grasp of my hand, but that’s what it is. If you don’t even come here you can’t get disappointed because you are not even trying. I was trying and unfortunately it just wasn’t good enough.”
Garcia, a member of the LIV Golf League, had to go through qualifying because he cannot earn world ranking points that lead to automatic berths in majors.
He won the Masters in 2017 for his sole major title. He has 10 top-10 finishes at The Open, tying for second in 2014 behind Rory McIlroy at Royal Liverpool and losing in a playoff in 2007 to Padraig Harrington at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland.
Garcia will remain in England to play this weekend in the LIV London event.
On Tuesday, he finished 5 shots behind leading qualifier Matt Wallace of England. Also qualifying were Royal Liverpool member Matthew Jordan, South Africa’s Kyle Barker, England’s Alex Fitzpatrick — the younger brother of 2022 U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick — and German amateur Tiger Christensen.
“To play with my brother, Matt, in a major will be amazing,” Alex Fitzpatrick said. “I’ve never played in one and I was asking people only last week what it was like to play in one, so it’s great to be able to experience it now.”
Matt Fitzpatrick took to social media to commend his brother.
10 years ago yesterday I qualified for The Open for the first time. Today my brother does the same exact thing!! Couldn’t be prouder and can’t wait to play a major championship with him! pic.twitter.com/eKLEt0Elzq
— Matt Fitzpatrick (@MattFitz94) July 4, 2023
Two full-time LIV Golf members reached the field via final qualifying at another location, Royal Porthcawl in Wales: South Africans Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel. Grace was the first player to shoot a round of 62 at a major at the 2017 Open Championship, and Schwartzel won the Masters in 2011.
“Being an international player, The Open is huge,” Schwartzel said. “I don’t want to put one in front of the others but I feel like The Open and Augusta go hand-in-hand in terms of prestige.”
Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.