THE world’s leading golfers will get the infamous US Open underway today - and Matt Southgate is eager to join them next year.

Southgate, who is based in Southend, competed in the eagerly-anticipated PGA European Tour event last year.

And the 30-year-old is keen to test himself in the contest once again.

“I think that playing in the majors is a goal for any aspiring player so, of course, I would like to compete in the US Open again,” said Southgate.

“I look forward to challenging to compete at the highest level I possibly can and hope to grow as a player and keep on improving along the way.

“If I continue to improve then the success and big tournaments can’t avoid me.

“The key is finding a way to keep improving year on year.”

Southgate competed in the US Open for the first time in his career 12 months ago.

He finished nine over par, which was enough to clinch joint-68th place.

But Southgate will not be in the United States of America this time around.

Southgate travelled to Surrey to compete in the US Open Championship International Sectional Qualifier at Walton-on-the-Hill earlier this month.

There were 14 qualifiers and two alternates who booked their place in the world-renowned event, which is being held at the picturesque Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.

But Southgate was unable to secure a spot in the contest as rounds of 70 and 68 resulted in him finishing six under par and tying for 19th position in Surrey.

However, Southgate was keen to remain positive after missing out on a qualification place.

“I played very nicely at the US Open Championship International Sectional Qualifier,” he added.

“I wasn’t upset about not qualifying as I did all I could.

“I gave every shot my best and walked away proud of yet another good performance.”

Southgate, who is also the chairman of non-league football side Leigh Ramblers, is in fine form as he shone at the Belgian Knockout competition.

Having finished four under par, Southgate was able to clinch a top 10 finish for the second European Tour outing in succession.

And Southgate was pleased to tie for sixth position.

“The Belgian Knockout was great,” admitted Southgate.

“I continued to perform to the high standards I have set.

“It was great to be back under pressure and hit good shots when I needed to.”