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Now walking pain-free again, Marco Penge among The Open final qualifiers

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Marco Penge wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to walk pain-free again. Now, he will be walking down the fairways at the Old Course at St. Andrews.

The 24-year-old Englishman was among the 16 players who punched their Open Championship tickets via final qualifying at four different sites on Tuesday. He shot 72-72 at Hollinwell to earn the fourth and final spot out of that qualifier.

Penge was once projected as a future superstar and won on the EuroPro Tour in 2019, but injuries have kept him from fulfilling his potential. He underwent right-knee surgery last October and didn’t return until late March.

“The past seven months have been a lot tougher than I thought it would be,” Penge said last February. “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster. I was asking myself all sorts: Will I be able to walk pain-free again? Has my golf career finished because of an uncontrollable injury? What am I going to do? What I was born to do could be finished because of this. But no, I’m back. … The dream hasn’t ended yet.”

Since coming back, Penge has shined on the Challenge Tour, finishing fourth in his first start, the SDC Open, and earlier this month placing runner-up at the Kaskada Golf Challenge. He is up to No. 472 in the world rankings.

Other notable final qualifiers include Stanford standout Barclay Brown, who competed on last year’s GB&I Walker Cup team; DP World Tour winner Marcus Armitage; Sam Bairstow, the recent British Amateur runner-up and world’s 12th-ranked amateur; and England’s Richard Mansell, who has now qualified for both summer Opens after also getting into the U.S. Open at The Country Club, where he missed the cut.

Here is a look at all 16 players who qualified for The Open at St. Andrews:

a-Barclay Brown
Richard Mansell
Oliver Farr
Marco Penge

David Carey
Robert Dinwiddie
Lars Van Meijel
Alex Wrigley

Matthew Ford
Jamie Rutherford
Ronan Mullarney
Jack Floydd

Marcus Armitage
a-Sam Bairstow
Matthew Jordan
John Parry