DORSET’S Kevin Spurgeon has grabbed the third and final automatic place in this month’s Senior Open Championship.
Spurgeon secured his date at Turnberry, on July 26-29, with a final flourish in Switzerland on Sunday.
The 57-year-old Ferndown touring professional carded a two-under-par 68 in the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors to edge out his Open rivals.
“If I had shot a high score, I would have lost my place in the top 30 of the order of merit and with it my Open spot,” explained Spurgeon.
There were three places available for players in the top 30 of the European Senior Tour order of merit who were not otherwise exempt.
“To get the last one means I don’t have to go to one of the four qualifying events, which is great,” added Spurgeon, who occupies 30th place on the money list following his tied 23rd finish in Switzerland.
Spurgeon, who has missed only one Senior Open in eight years, is looking to emulate last year’s achievement at Walton Heath.
“I earned enough money from that one event to secure my card for this year, so I will be trying to do the same this time round,” said Spurgeon, who earned 17,223 euros for finishing 16th in Surrey.
“Turnberry (links course) is going to be a totally different challenge, but my game is in good shape and I am capable of doing well,” he added.
Spurgeon has enjoyed mixed fortunes on his recent three-tournament European excursion.
He began with an impressive 12th-place finish at the Van Lanschot Senior Open in Holland, where he picked up a cheque for 4,937 euros.
“It was a good start for me in bad weather,” said Spurgeon, who carded rounds of 76, 75 and 74 for a nine-over-par total.
“The winner (Massy Kuramota) won it on level par, so it shows how difficult the conditions were. On one of the days we shouldn’t really have played, it was that windy.”
Spurgeon’s earnings, however, took a dip the following week in Germany where he finished 47th in the Berenberg Masters.
“It was a lovely course and I really enjoyed playing it, but I just couldn’t seem to score well on it,” he explained.
Spurgeon’s most recent travels took him to Switzerland for the Bad Ragaz Open won by Tim Thelen last weekend. The American was 12-under-par – two ahead of Mark James.
“I played solid all week but had a bogey, double bogey finish to my second round which saw me drop away a bit,” added Spurgeon, who carded rounds of 68, 72 and 68.
“But I came back well on the final day and shot another two-under-par which was enough to secure my Open place.”
Spurgeon, who has driven to each course with his wife Elly, will arrive back in England later this week after touring France.
Before travelling to Scotland for the Senior Open, Spurgeon will play in the PGA West Region order of merit event at Cumberwell Park and the Broadstone Pro-am.