AXED LIV Golf pro books Open spot as Taichi Kho enters record books in Hong Kong

Taichi Kho enters the record books in Hong Kong as axed LIV Golf player plays his way into the 151st Open Championship. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Sun, 26 Mar 2023
AXED LIV Golf pro books Open spot as Taichi Kho enters record books in Hong Kong

Axed LIV Golf player Travis Smyth has booked his place in the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool after picking up one of four qualifying spots through the World City Championship presented by Hong Kong Golf Club.

The tournament, which was reduced to 54 holes due to bad weather, was won by 22-year-old home favourite Taichi Kho who made history on Sunday by becoming the first player from Hong Kong to win an Asian Tour event. 

Kho, who incredibly only turned professional in January this year, saw out a two-shot victory over New Zealand's Michael Hendry on 12-under par.

"Being at home, in front of everyone, having my parents here, it just means the world to me. I want to say thank you to everyone," said Kho. 

"I can’t put into words how grateful I am to have this opportunity. To play on the Asian Tour and represent Hong Kong Golf Club, to play well with both those things it is very special. The fans gave me a lot of momentum, thank you to Hong Kong."

Smyth, who was one of a number of players to be axed by LIV Golf last season, finished in third place on 9-under par, with Bio Kim and Miguel Tabuena a further shot back on 8-under par. 

Kho, Hendry, Smyth and Kim take the four available spots in The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool this July.

Kim picked up the fourth spot despite finishing tied with Tabuena as a result of his higher position in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR).

Smyth played in three LIV Golf tournaments before being booted out of the Saudi-bankrolled circuit in 2022.

He finished tied 33rd in the first LIV Golf event at Centurion, before going on to finish tied 29th at Portland and 22nd at Bedminster.

LIV Golf pro Ian Poulter was hoping to pick up one of the four available spots in The Open but he finished well down the board in a tie for 45th on 1-under par.

Sacked European Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson, who won LIV Golf Bedminster on his controversial circuit debut last season, finished in a tie for 61st on 1-over par, but the Swede's place in The Open is already booked as a result of etching his name on the famous Claret Jug at Royal Troon in 2016. 

Any golfer who has earned a qualifying place who then becomes exempt under one or more categories before the closing date of entries for The Open on 1 June will result in that place being awarded to the next non-exempt golfer, which will be determined by a reserve list for each event played before this date.

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