Frenchman Jean Van de Velde was the most notable player to advance to next weeks Open Championship at Birkdale, following Tuesdays final qualifying tournaments. The former Open runner up made a birdie on the final hole to snatch the fourth available spot at Hillside. Van de Velde was understandably delighted with to be through: “I qualified in 1999, so maybe this is my chance,” said the 42-year-old.
“It means a lot to be playing in it again. There are only two tournaments a year I want to play in and play good in – the French Open and the Open.” Other qualifiers from Hillside included amateurs Chris Wood and Rohan Blizzard.
Former Ryder Cup player Philip Walton played superbly to finish 1st in the tournament at West Lancashire. Walton, who longer has a card on the European Tour, was the only player to finish under par after the 36 holes. In a closely contested competition, Jonathan Lomas and Kent pro Peter Appleyard secured their places after a play-off.
In the final event, which was held at Southport and Ainsdale, amateur Thomas Sherreard shot a final round 69 to secure his place at Birkdale. John Bevan, Jamie Howarth and Gary Boyd were the other qualifiers.
The Open Championship begins on the 17th July, and there are now only two places up for grabs. They will be taken by the highest placed finishers, who have not yet secured their places, at the John Deere Classic, and the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.