Steve Stricker among four qualifiers for The Open

Daniel Berger celebrates his first PGA Tour triumph after winning the FedEx St Jude Classic. Picture: AP
Daniel Berger celebrates his first PGA Tour triumph after winning the FedEx St Jude Classic. Picture: AP
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Three Americans - Steve Stricker, Brian Gay and Russell Henley - as well as Korea’s Seung-Yul Noh have qualified for the 145th Open at Royal Troon through the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis, Tennessee.

Stricker, whose best performance in The Open is tied for seventh at Royal Birkdale in 2008, carded a final round 67 to finish in joint second place behind compatriot Daniel Berger.

The former Ryder Cup player picked up three birdies on the back nine to reach 10-under-par for the tournament, three shots behind winner Berger, who maintained his overnight lead to win his first PGA Tour event.

Berger has already qualified for The Open next month after finishing in the top 30 leading qualifiers for the Tour Championship in 2015.

A final-round 66 from Gay propelled the 2009 FedEx St Jude Classic winner into sixth place on eight-under-par and he qualified for The Open for a fourth time, having played in 2001, 2009 and 2010.

A birdie on the 16th hole secured Henley’s place at The Open, the two-time PGA Tour winner finishing tied for seventh place on seven-under-par with Noh.

The 27-year-old has played in The Open for the last three years and his best performance was tied 20th at St Andrews in 2015.

Former Korean Amateur champion Noh qualified for his third appearance in The Open, having played in 2010 at St Andrews and 2011 at Royal St George’s.

The Zurich Classic of New Orleans champion recovered from a double bogey on the 12th to pick up two shots in the final three holes to secure his place in the starting field at Royal Troon.

Berger overcame a three-hour rain delay to shoot a final-round three-under 67 to win his first PGA Tour title.

Berger held off the challenge of Stricker, Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka to win by three strokes on the 13-under-par total of 267.

Mickelson had closed to within a stroke of Berger but he responded with birdies on the 12th, 14th and 15th holes that pushed him beyond the reach of the 42-time Tour winner.

Berger told reporters: “To kind of get it done today means a lot. To do that with so many great players, Hall of Famers behind me, it’s something that I’ll never forget and I just love the way I hung in there and was able to get it done.”

Berger will now head to Oakmont for the US Open in confident form. He said: “When I played in the Masters for the first time I think I finished 10th, five shots behind and didn’t really play that great.

“So, you know if I can go in there next week and play good, then obviously I have what it takes to get the W.”