Three spots for the Open Championship were available at Gailes yesterday, and Scots Marc Warren, Jamie McLeary and Paul McKechnie claimed them all.
Jamie McLeary led for most of the day after setting a course record 63 in round one before a late surge from Marc Warren left him top of the pile.
Warren was six shots off the pace going into round two. He rallied, shooting 64, securing his second successive appearance in the Open.
McLeary had a more modest final round compared to his first, going round in 72. That was enough to send him to Hoylake, as he finished a comfortable four shots ahead of his nearest challengers Paul McKechnie and Rhys Davies.
The third and final qualifying spot was settled in a much more dramatic fashion. After two rounds Welshman Rhys Davies and Scotland’s Paul McKechnie were tied on three-under-par. It was Tartan Tour star McKechnie that triumphed after his birdie on the first extra-hole edged out a disappointed Davies.
Sunningdale proved the most testing of the four qualifying venues with only two players managing to break par. Matthew Southgate, Chris Rodgers and South Korea’s Byeong-Hun An all made the grade though, and will play in the Open at Royal Liverpool.
Southgate carded an opening one-over 70 before charging to the top of the leaderboard with a closing 64, leaving him on four-under-par. The 25-year-old finished one stroke ahead of An, who shot 69-66 to finish on three-under.
Rodgers had an agonising wait before realising his dream of playing in the Open for the first time. Despite bogeying the final hole, the London professional shot 67-72 leaving him on one-over-par, qualifying by a shot.
At Woburn, Irish amateur Paul Dunne survived a huge scare before he came through to win Final Qualifying on the Marquess course. The 22-year-old arrived on the first tee with just one minute to spare ahead of his opening round but managed to retain his composure and post two rounds of 67 to claim a three shot victory on 10-under.
Dunne finished three shots ahead of Oliver Fisher, who also opened with a five-under 67. He then secured second with a two-under round of 70.
The last spot for the Open was decided by a tense play-off after English Amateur Tomasz Anderson, Australia’s Jack Wilson and Rhys Enoch from Wales all tied for third on six-under-par.
The trio went down the first extra hole and Enoch overshot the green with his approach from behind a tree, but he then holed a spectacular 25-foot downhill pitch for a winning birdie three.
At Hillside, John Singleton, Nick Marsh and Challenge Tour players Chris Hanson and Oscar Floren all tied on six-under after the day’s play.
Singleton made the play-off after a closing round of 66, the joint lowest of the day. Hanson and Mark shot consecutive 69s to reach the play-off, while Floren posted 67 71 for both his rounds.
First time around the quartet all made par but Marsh found a bunker off the tee at the second and failed to make par and his dream was over, sending the other three through.
The Open :: scores in total
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