Scott Stallings has a date with four-time major winner Stewart Cink and Richard McEvoy at Muirfield on Thursday, thanks to Phil Mickelson’s Scottish Open win on Sunday.
The Worcester, Mass., native will pass up the defense of his Sanderson Farms Championship title to make his first start in an Open Championship. With two positions open for the winners of the Scottish Open and John Deere Classic, Stallings got in as an alternate when Mickelson — who was already in the field for this week’s major in Scotland — walked off with the W at Castle Stuart.
“It’s with mixed emotions that I will not be able to return to Madison to defend my title at this year’s Sanderson Farms Championship,” Stallings, who missed the cut at last week’s PGA Tour tilt at TPC Deere Run, told PGATour.com. “The decision was a difficult one, but as I pursue my dream of a major championship title, I’ve decided to go for the chance to compete in the Open Championship.”
The 28-year-old Stallings won last year’s Sanderson Farms (formerly the True South Classic) event for his second tour win. He also made the U.S. Open for the first time this year as an alternate and finished 53rd.
Mickelson won his tune-up for the Open Championship by besting Branden Grace on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminerWHAT'S YOUR REACTION?