Katayama and Taniguchi bid to qualify for The Open

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Four golfers will secure places for The 2014 Open Championship at the Open Qualifying Series Japan – Mizuno Open this week.

The event will give players from across the region the chance to qualify to play in golf’s oldest Major Championship. 144 golfers from eight countries will compete over 72 holes at JFE Setonaikai Golf Club in Okayama from 29 May – 1 June. Four players that finish in the top 12 and ties, who are not already exempt, will earn places in the field for the 143rd Open Championship. 

The Open Qualifying Series comprises 14 events in nine countries on five continents and offers players the opportunity to qualify for The Open at prestigious events on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Japan Golf Tour and the Sunshine Tour.

Japan’s Shingo Katayama will lead the home challenge this week. The 41-year-old has won 27 times on the Japan Golf Tour and has made seven appearances at The Open. His best finish was in 2003 at Royal St George’s, where he tied for 34th. Katayama earned one of the four qualifying spots on offer at the Mizuno Open in 2013 and will be looking to repeat his success this year at Setonaikai.

Another Japanese player expected to be a contender is Toru Taniguchi, a 19-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour. The 46-year-old was Japan’s highest ranked golfer in 2007 and 2008 when he featured in the top 30 of the Official World Golf Ranking. He has made nine appearances at The Open since 1998 and his best finish was tied 37th at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 2001.

Among the other players in the field with Open Championship experience are Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng, who has made five appearances at The Open and Australia’s Brad Kennedy, the 2012 Mizuno Open champion.

Four players in the field have already secured places at The Open. Masanori Kobayashi, the 2013 Japan Open winner, will play at Royal Liverpool along with Hiroshi Iwata, Yoshinobu Tsukada and China’s Ashun Wu who qualified at the Open Qualifying Series – Thailand event in March.

For more information and scoring visit TheOpen.com

Photo courtesy of The R&A