144 golfers will compete in Japan at the Open Qualifying Series to secure a place at this year’s Open Championship in July at Royal Liverpool

Four players will secure places in The 2014 Open Championship at the Open Qualifying Series in Japan at the Mizuno Open.

The event is the fourth stop in the Open Qualifying Series and will give players from across the region the chance to qualify to play in golf’s oldest Major Championship.

144 golfers will compete over 72 holes at JFE Setonaikai Golf Club in Okayama from 29 May – 1 June.

The four players that finish in the top 12 will earn places in the field for the 143rd Open Championship which will be played from 17-20 July at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake.

The Open Qualifying Series comprises 14 events in nine countries on five continents.

Japan’s Shingo Katayama will lead the home challenge this week.

Katayama has won 27 times on the Japan Golf Tour and has made seven appearances at The Open.

To date his best finish was in 2003 at Royal St George’s, where he tied for 34th.

Katayama earned one of the four qualifying spots on offer at the Mizuno Open in 2013 and will be looking to repeat his success this year at Setonaikai.

“Many great players have played in The Open Championship over the years and to follow in their footsteps is a truly special experience,” said Katayama.

Japan’s Toru Taniguchi, a 19-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour, is also a steady contender for a place at the Open.

The 46-year-old was Japan’s highest ranked golfer in 2007 and 2008 when he featured in the top 30 of the Official World Golf Ranking.

“There are many strong players in the field and I am certain that the competition will be very tough for the four places,” said Taniguchi.

Among the other players in the field with Open Championship experience are Thailand’s Prayad Marksaen and Australia’s Brad Kennedy.

2013 Mizuno Open runner-up Kyung-Tae Kim of Korea will also be looking to make his return to The Open after finishing tied for 73rd in 2013 at Muirfield.

The 72-hole stroke play tournament will begin on Thursday 29 May and the field will be cut to the leading 60 players and ties following Friday’s second round.

The Open Qualifying Series replaces International Final Qualifying (IFQ) for The Open Championship which was introduced in 2004 and involved 36-hole qualifying events in Africa, Australasia, Asia, America, and Europe.