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Sergio Garcia has opened up on his heated exchange of words with officials after agonisingly missing out on The Open for a second year running. 

Garcia – aiming for his 100th major appearance at Royal Troon this month – narrowly missed out during a 36-hole marathon Final Qualifying day at West Lancashire Golf Club.

The Spaniard finished on three-under to come up just short again on the Merseyside links, and was involved in a controversial flashpoint midway through his first round as he lost his cool with some officials.

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Garcia’s was one of several groups to be given an official slow play warning in the first round, but he was growing frustrated that the huge crowds following him were not kept under control by marshals.

On a cold, blustery morning, he had to wait on the tee on most holes for dozens of fans to move away from his line.

The frustrations boiled over on the par-4 eighth hole as Garcia remonstrated with two officials, saying: “You’re always right, we’re wrong.”

Garcia was asked about the incident after finishing up two shots shy of the qualifying places.

“It’s very simple,” he said. “When you have 2,000 people following us with no ropes, nothing. The marshals were trying to do as good a job as they could do but obviously we had to stop pretty much on every tee for two or three minutes to hit our tee shots because people were walking in front of the tee and on the fairway.

“Unless we wanted to start hitting people, we couldn’t hit. I don’t think they took that into account and that was unfortunate because it made us rush. On a day like today where the conditions are so tricky and you might need a little bit of extra time here and there it doesn’t help out.

“Because of that I made a couple of bogeys that might cost me getting to Troon.”

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Garcia attracted most of the Lancashire fans throughout and the R&A tasked more marshals with following his group in the second round as the galleries steadily built in the afternoon.

Local amateur Matthew Dodd-Berry and LIV Golf’s Sam Horsfield topped the leaderboard at six-under, however, to punch their golden ticket to Troon.

DP World Tour players Daniel Brown and Mashario Kawamura took the final two spots, while Englishman Ben Schmidt missed  out by one.

“It would have been a dream come true to make The Open my 100th major because I love the Open,” Garcia added. “Everyone knows that.

“Everyone knows how much I love playing in the UK and you could see it with the amount of people that we had following our group last year and this year. Obviously it’s a little bit disappointing but I guess it’ll be the Masters, which is also not a bad choice.

Garcia will now head to Valderrama – his favourite course – for LIV’s showpiece in Andalucia before returning to the UK for their inaugural tournament at JCB Golf and Country Club.

You can follow Final Qualifying from all four venues on The Open’s website.

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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