MATTHEW Southgate admits he is feeling confident after securing his place at one of golf’s major championships.

The 28-year-old from Southend will compete in the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in a fortnight.

Southgate won the qualifier at Royal Cinque Ports at Deal, in Kent, for the second year running.

And he will now tee off alongside the cream of the crop of the golfing world when the tournament gets underway on July 16.

“I have been confident something was going to happen with the way I had been playing,” he said.

“I played great in the qualifier and holed some putts and now I am back in The Open.

“I like it down there [the course in Deal]. I played down there as an amateur and liked the way it played.

“You need a lot of skill and cant be one dimensional. It suits my game.

“But I wont read into it too much. I had a good afternoon of golf, that’s it.

“It is not life changing at the moment. I want to get one good results before I head there and have two tournaments in Ireland and Scotland to do that.

“It will just be my family and close friends that come out with me. We will go out there with a little team and I look forward to spending time with my parents and hope my nephews and niece will be able to come as well.”

Southgate won his Final Qualifying event for the third time in four years, having failed to qualify in 2015 - spending the week of The Open recovering from an operation for testicular cancer.

He excelled at Royal Troon last year, finished tied 12th.

And he can look forward to another chance to shine on the biggest stage after carding 65, thanks to an outward 32 plus his seventh birdie of the round at the 17th, as he finished on six-under-par.

Southgate begins at the Irish Open today, where he will look to take inspiration from a stunning performance last year.

The Thorpe Hall Golf Club member finished fourth, just four shots off winner Rory McIlroy, in 2016.

But Southgate says he isn’t dwelling on the success he has at the K Club last year.

“I was up at 4:30am yesterday morning so feel quite tired but I am ready for this event,” he said.

“I am really looking forward to it. I hope I get some more of the same and will be getting stuck in.

“I can’t dwell on what happened last year and have to remain focused.”

Southgate will tee off today against fellow Englishmen Robert Rock and Nathan Kimsey at 7:40am at Portstewart’s Golf Club in County Londonderry.