WA trio gunning for Open Championship glory

18th Jul 2023

Three WA golfers are amongst the 10 Aussies vying for the Claret Jug at this week’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

DP World Tour winner Min Woo Lee spearheads the WA challenge and is joined by Haydn Barron and Connor McKinney, both of whom make their Major championship debuts.

Although Lee is now sufficiently high in the World Golf Rankings to earn automatic entry into the Majors, he and Barron actually acquired their places in the field at Hoylake way back in December due to high finishes at The Australian Open in Victoria.

Barron, in particular, earned his spot the hard way, finishing birdie-eagle under extreme pressure to bag the last exemption on offer. Delivering the goods when it mattered most is an achievement Barron believes still holds him in good stead ahead of his Major bow.

“I do draw on that (experience) in big moments,” he told a media video conference. “And if I can get myself into that position again, mentally, anything’s possible. It’s only as big as you make it in your head, so if I can continue to take things day by day hopefully I’ll be well prepared.

“I’m just going to tackle this week with the best mentality I can every day. Whatever will be, will be, but as long as I’m proud of myself at the end of the week, that’s my main goal.”

Having arrived in the UK well in advance of The Open, Barron used his time profitably to adapt his game to links golf with rounds at Southport and Ainsdale and Royal Lytham prior to switching his focus to Royal Liverpool.

With several practice rounds now under his belt, Barron is under no illusions that a stern test awaits during the championship proper.

“The course is hard and it’s long,” he said. “The holes that aren’t long are playing long because you have to lay back off the tee and try to avoid the trouble and end up having a longer second. The fairways are tight and they’ve had continuous rain for the last four or so weeks, so the rough is pretty nasty.”

Twenty-one-year-old McKinney also had to dig deep to secure his Open berth after coming through final qualifying at Dundonald Links in early July.

The Scottish-born Aussie national shot three under par over 36 holes at Dundonald to finish T3rd overall. With four qualifying spots available, a three-man playoff was held to eliminate one player, with McKinney birdieing the second extra hole to book his trip to Liverpool.

“To play in golf’s oldest championship as your first major, and having grown up watching The Open, is pretty special,” he said. “It’s something I have always dreamed of. You have to envision it, but it’s a pretty surreal feeling to be sure.”

Lee, playing in his third consecutive Open, will play alongside South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Australian amateur star Harrison Crowe for the first two rounds. Barron is paired alongside Brits Dan Bradbury and Oliver Farr, while McKinney will tees up with England’s Oliver Wilson and Guido Migliozzi of Italy.

The other Australians in the field are Adam Scott, David Micheluzzi, Jason Day, Lucas Herbert, Travis Smyth and defending champion Cam Smith.

WA’s Haydn Barron is relishing his Open opportunity (credit Australian Golf Media)


Live TV coverage (AEST)

  • Wednesday

    • 10pm-4am Live From The Open (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)

  • Thursday

    • 3.30pm-5am Round 1 (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)

  • Friday

    • 5am-7am Live From The Open (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)

    • 3.30pm-5am Round 2 (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)

  • Saturday

    • 5am-7am Live From The Open (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)

    • 7pm – 5am Round 3 (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)

  • Sunday

    • 5am-7am Live From The Open (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)

    • Final Round 6pm – 4am (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)

  • Monday

    • 4am-6am Live From The Open (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)