WELSH golf star Jamie Donaldson has qualified for the 145th Open at Royal Troon next July.

Donaldson led a quartet of qualifiers by winning the Thailand Golf Championship, the second event in The Open Qualifying Series, with France's Clement Sordet and 16-year-old Thai Phachara Khongwatmai also booking their spots.

The 40-year-old from Pontypridd, who won the decisive match at last year's Ryder Cup, sealed a three-shot victory in Thailand with a seven-under-par closing round of 65.

Donaldson has climbed 25 places in the world rankings to end 2015 in 43rd spot after his stunning three shot success at the Amata Springs Country Club.

He rejoined the elite top-50 golfers on the globe with a superb seven-under-par final round of 65 to end the tournament, played in stifling heat, on 21 under.

“This is certainly one of my best victories – there were a lot of good players playing here this week,” Donaldson said, reflecting on a field which also included Sergio García and Martin Kaymer, who finished in a tie for fourth and a tie for ¬seventh respectively.

“The field is very strong and to beat these guys was great.

“It was the case of just going out to play like what I’ve done in the first two rounds. And it all came together today.

“Saturday was important. I wasn’t quite on it. I made some crucial par putts, birdied when I could to stay in it.

“It all came together on the final day, even though it was bit of a battle with the heat.”

Defending champion Lee Westwood finished tied in second place with Sordet and will make a 22nd consecutive appearance at The Open.

"It's great to get into The Open," he said. "It's my favourite championship of the year. I have played in every one since 1995 so it's nice to keep that run going.

"I've played at Royal Troon quite a few times and I finished fourth there one year. I like the golf course as it's a traditional links."

Khongwatmai came through the pre-qualifying event in Thailand and eventually finished sixth, but that was enough to earn him one of the four spots available because Sergio Garcia and An Byeong-hun, who finished in fourth and fifth, are already exempt.

The teenager said: "I am overwhelmed with happiness that I can be able to be included in The Open next year. I played with no expectations so I guess that was the key to playing well.

"I was already very happy to get a chance to play with the top stars this week. I didn't think so much and I surprised even myself to finish so well."