The Renaissance Club to become Open Final Qualifying venue in 2018

The Renaissance Club in East Lothian will host Open qualifying in 2018.
The Renaissance Club in East Lothian will host Open qualifying in 2018.
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The Renaissance Club in East Lothian is to take over from Gailes Links in Ayrshire as the Scottish venue for Open Championship Final Qualifying in 2018.

The first set of changes since Final Qualifying was split into regions rather than being held at courses close to the venue for that year’s event also sees Hollinwell in Nottinghamshire, Prince’s in Kent and St Annes Old Links in Lancashire become new hosts for the two-round shoot-out.

They will replace the three current English venues - Woburn, Royal Cinque Ports and Hillside - and, like The Renaissance Club, will stage Final Qualifying for four years through until 2021.

Among those who secured their places at Final Qualifying last year were two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen, Irishman Paul Dunne, who, of course, then led the Claret Jug joust at St Andrews after the third round, and American Jordan Niebrugge, who went on win the Silver Medal as the leading amateur in joint-sixth position.

“Final Qualifying is a hugely important part of The Open Qualifying Series and provides a gripping spectacle as leading Tour players compete with club professionals and elite amateurs for places in the Championship,” said Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at the R&A.

“The success that Jordan and Paul enjoyed last year shows just what is possible for those who qualify and gives players a huge incentive to follow in their footsteps.

“We very much appreciate the support we have received at the current Final Qualifying courses and look forward to moving on to four outstanding new venues in 2018.”

The Renaissance Club, which opened in 2004 and has since seen improvements made to the course by Tom Doak, lost out to Gullane when the European Tour was looking for a venue for last year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.

However, this is the second time it has been selected by the R&A, having already been chosen to jointly stage the stroke-play qualifying for this year’s Boys’ Amateur Championship at neighbouring Muirfield.