SOUTHEND golf pro Matt Southgate has qualified for The Open Championship for the first time.

The 25-year-old topped the leaderboard at the final round of qualifying at Sunningdale on Tuesday to seal his spot on the entry list for his maiden Major.

Southgate, who is a member at Thorpe Hall Golf Club in Thorpe Bay, was one of only two players to break par at Sunningdale. He carded an opening round of one-over (70) before charging to the top of the leaderboard with a closing 64 for a four-under-par 134 winning aggregate finishing one stroke ahead of South Korea’s Byeong-Hun An, who shot 69, 66 for a 135 total.

“It’s amazing,” said Southgate. “I must have tried to qualify for The Open 10 times since I got down to scratch as an amateur,” said Southgate, whose final round contained six birdies and just the one dropped shot at the 11th.

“I have been working hard with my coach, my preparation has been good and I’m just delighted it all came together.”