Goose going back to St Andrews

15_Open_GoosenR_qualifiedNEWRetief Goosen was among the 12 qualifiers for the 144th Open at Final Qualifying while Irishman Paul Dunne won the event at Woburn for the second year running to join four other amateurs in the field at St Andrews.

The 22-year-old Dunne, from Greystones, won by three strokes, as he did last year, following rounds of 70 and 65 on the Marquess Course which gave him a nine-under-par total of 135.

Two-time US Open champion Goosen overcame his fatigue, though, to come through a play-off to book his place on the course where he finished tied fifth in 2005 and sixth five years ago.

“I won two Dunhill Cups there as well (with Ernie Els and David Frost in 1997 and 1998) and first played it when I was 18, so I’ve walked a good few miles on that course and I love it,” said Goosen.

The 46-year-old South African, who had only four hours’ sleep after spending Monday in Germany following his tied fourth place finish at the BMW International Open, birdied the first extra hole against English pair Adam Gee and Jamie Moul after they had tied on five-under-par.

The other player to qualify was England’s Robert Dinwiddie, who finished second on his own at six-under-par and will finally make his Open debut after 16 attempts starting when he was only 15.

Two days after finishing runner-up at the US Senior Open in California, Colin Montgomerie, runner-up to Tiger Woods at St Andrews in 2005, missed out by four shots, however.

A year ago Dunne, who plans to turn professional later this year, was the only amateur to survive the 36-hole Final Qualifying, played this year at Hillside, Royal Cinque Ports and Woburn in England and Gailes Links in Scotland, but that was far from the case this time.

At Royal Cinque Ports in Kent, England’s Alister Balcombe and Ben Taylor shared top spot with professional Gary Boyd, while 20-year-old Liverpudlian Paul Kinnear came through at Gailes Links and American Jordan Niebrugge at Hillside.

Kinnear was emotional after joining professionals Mark Young and New Zealander Ryan Fox. While Niebrugge tied for first place with Australian Scott Arnold and Swede Pelle Edberg at the Southport venue.

Balcombe, a 19-year-old from Bristol with a plus-three handicap, followed up his opening 67 with a 70 to finish on five-under-par at Royal Cinque Ports.

Taylor, 23 and a plus-five handicapper from Walton Heath, has just finished his studies at Louisiana State University and birdied three of his last seven holes for a 67, while Boyd matched Balcombe’s two rounds. It will be his third trip to The Open with his best finish coming in 2011 at Royal St George’s where he was tied 38th.

Among those who missed out there were former Ryder Cup player Paul Broadhurst, who in the 1990 Open at St Andrews shot a major record-equalling 63, and Scot Raymond Russell, joint fourth with amateur Justin Rose at Royal Birkdale in 1998.

Former conservatory fitter Young, from Longridge, near Preston, was pinching himself after securing his place in The Open at Gailes Links, with rounds of 68 and 70 for four-under-par to finish two shots clear of the field. He turned professional only last November and signed for an eagle and three birdies in his morning effort before mixing three birdies with a double bogey in the afternoon.

Arnold, from Sydney, added a 73 to his opening 68 at Hillside, while Edberg posted a 71 to add to his 70 and Niebrugge shot 69 and 72. Edberg’s round included a holed 60-yard pitch for eagle at the second, his 11th.


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