May 29, 2016
Four players qualified for the 145th Open Championship by virtue of their finish Sunday at the Japan Golf Tour’s Mizuno Open.
Kodai Ichihara, Shugo Imahira, Sang-hee Lee and Hideto Tanihara all earned spots at Royal Troon as part of the Open Qualifying Series.
Ichihara, Imahira and Lee all tied for second, one shot behind winner K.T. Kim who had already qualified for the Open by virtue of winning the Japan Golf Tour money list in 2015. Ichihara will be making his second Open appearance, having missed the cut at Royal Lytham in 2012, while Imahira and Lee will each be making their first appearance.
Tanihara finished in a four-way tie for fifth, and he qualified for Troon by virtue of having the highest world ranking (No. 114) of those not already exempt. Tanihara has made four prior Open starts, including a T-5 finish in 2006 at Royal Liverpool, and qualified earlier this week for the U.S. Open at a sectional qualifier in Japan.
Tanihara edged out New Zealand’s Michael Hendry for the final Open berth, a spot that the Kiwi appeared to have sewn up during the final round. But Hendry bogeyed four of his final seven holes, dropping him into a tie for fifth. Tanihara joined him with a birdie on the final hole, then earned the last spot via the OWGR tiebreaker.