Played at Bay Hill, the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard was the fourth event in The Open Qualifying Series, which gives golfers around the world opportunities to book their place for the historic occasion at St Andrews from 10-17 July.
The PGA TOUR event was won by Scottie Scheffler on a five-under-par total of 283. The American recorded his second victory this season following his breakthrough win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open last month.
He was already exempt for The Open alongside seven other golfers who finished inside the top 10, including Tyrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland, Billy Horschel, Gary Woodland, Lucas Herbert, Sam Burns and Matt Fitzpatrick.
The American will make his fourth appearance in The Open and his first at St Andrews. The four-time PGA TOUR winner recorded his best result in the Championship at Royal Liverpool in 2014 when he finished tied 19th.
Gooch also booked his place at St Andrews after finishing in a tie for seventh place with Herbert on a two-under-par total of 286.
The American, who secured his first PGA TOUR win last November at the RSM Classic, recovered from a difficult front nine in which he went out in seven-over-par 43 to pick up crucial birdies on the 12th and 14th holes. He will now make his second appearance in The Open after his debut at Royal St George’s last year.
No golfer was able to claim the third available qualifying place. Keegan Bradley narrowly missed out on securing a place at St Andrews after finishing in a tie for 11th place along with Corey Connors on an even-par total of 288. Connors was already exempt for The Open.
The next event in The Open Qualifying Series is the Mizuno Open which will be played at JFE Setonaikai Golf Club from 26-29 May.
“I remember having a good week in The Open in 2014. Every time I have been over there, I just love the style of golf that is required there. I can’t get enough of it. I wish they had more of it over here. We had a little bit with the firmness and everything this week.
“This will be my first Open at St Andrews and I am pumped. I can’t wait. In 2015, I was exempt for The Open there and I hurt my hand. It was devastating for me not to be able to go. It is something I definitively had in my sights this year as a big goal, to try to make it over there. It feels amazing to have the opportunity. I think my wife and I and our three boys will be able to come with me. It will be incredible.”
“It was a nice and positive way to finish after a not-so-fun day. I mean you grow up watching The Open at St Andrews. You just think of the bridge, you think of everything it means. My first Open was last year at Royal St George’s, so it will be my second appearance and to be at St Andrews is special.
“For whatever reason I just remember Jack Nicklaus the last time he was playing at St Andrews, and he stood on the bridge on the 18th and gave a farewell wave. Obviously, I think of when Tiger Woods won there. The last hole is so iconic - the 18th comes to mind immediately.
“I'm going to play the Scottish Open the week before so that's my way of getting a little bit of preparation, just kind of getting acclimatised. Fortunately for me I grew up in a windy area so I if it is whipping little bit, I'm comfortable and I enjoy links golf. It just going to be special and I'm excited.”