Next week the Australian Open for the first time on 16 qualification matches for Open at Royal Portrush

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The Open Championship returns to Royal Portrush in 2019 after a 68-year gap

The Australian Open will be the first of 16 global events next week where non-exempt players can qualify for the 2019 Open Championship in Royal Portrush.

The tournament in The Lakes in Sydney starts a qualifying series in 11 countries and offers 46 open places.

The three leading players in the top 10 in Sydney, not yet released, book places at Royal Portrush in July.

Series changes see the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Canadian Open under PGA Tour events with qualifying spots.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational, this year won by Rory McIlroy, and Canadian Open will both have three clear spots with two Portrush berths available at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and a last place at the John Deere Classic on the eve of the 148th Open.

The Open Qualifying Series will visit LAT e Juni for the first time in Spain when the Valderrema Masters replace the Open de France in the schedule of the European Tour.

As is the case with the Irish Open and Scottish Open in early July, the Valderrama event will have three qualifying places.

The South African Open of December 6-9 replaces the Joburg Open as qualifier after a merger of the two events, while the Singapore Open, Mizuno Open in Japan and Korea Open will also have Portrush spots.

In addition to the global qualifying events, regional and final qualifying competitions will also take place in Great Britain and Ireland.

The final qualifying matches take place at Fairmont St Andrews, Notts, Prince's and St Annes Old Links with three Portrush seats available at each location.

Executive Director of R & A Championships, Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, said an "exciting series of events is eagerly anticipated".

"There is real excitement at the prospect of the Open returning to Northern Ireland for the first time in nearly 70 years and it will undoubtedly act as an additional incentive for those players who are hopeful to it win at the famous Dunluce-links, "he added

The major, returning to the location in Northern Ireland after an opening of 68 years, is played from 18-21 July with the Italian Francesco Molinari who defends the title.

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