Glasson’s Colm Moriarty is determined to put in a performance to match the occasion after coming through final qualifying to grab a dream major championship debut in next month’s Open at St Andrews.
But there was agony for Waterville’s David Higgins as he followed a 66 with a miserable 73 to come up two shots short of a play-off chance at Local Final Qualifying (see scores).
Athlone ace Moriarty, 31, was one of 288 hopefuls battling for just 12 spots at four Scottish venues. And he took full advantage when he topped the qualifiers by two strokes at Kingsbarns on seven under par, following a five under 67 with a solid afternoon 70 in stiffening winds.
Determined to play well on his major debut, Moriarty said: “It’s brilliant. You couldn’t pick a better place to play your first major. It’s fantastic.
“Hopefully I can play many more majors but while it’s great to get in, I want to go there and play well now. I don’t want to get carried away with just qualifying.
“I have been playing very nicely all year and my goal is still to win the Challenge Tour rankings or at least finish in the top 10.
“The Open doesn’t count towards that but it can still make a differnce to my ranking on the main tour so I will be going to St Andews to put in a performance.”
Moriarty started his day with a bogey at the second but picked up four birdies and an eagle in his next seven holes to get his qualifying bid off to a flyer and never looked back.
He said: “You never know what can happen in qualifying with only three spots to play for and you have to play well. But I’m delighted with how I played.
“I started work with Bob Torrance at the start of the year and did a good bit of work with the Irish national coach Neil Manchip as well, so it’s been a pretty good combination.”
Higgins was tied for the lead after the first round when he hit four birdies in a bogey free 66 at Scotscraig to share top spot with Scot Lloyd Saltman.
But the Kerryman’s bid for a third major championship appearance came unstuck in the afternoon.
Despite going to the turn in one over par, he was still well placed to qualify on three under par but bogeyed his 10th, 14th and 15th holes to kiss his chances goodbye before finishing with a birdie four at Scotscraig’s ninth hole.
Moriarty’s success means that Ireland will now have six players in action at the Home of Golf from July 15-18 - four of them from the Horizon Sports Management stable.
Apart from Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy, Horizon’s recently crowned US Open champion Graeme McDowell was already exempt before stablemates Shane Lowry and Gareth Maybin came through International Final Qualifying at Sunningdale on June 7.
Amateur Laurie Canter led the qualifiers at Fairmont St Andrews’s Torrance Course, firing rounds of 67 and 69 to edge out Zane Scotland by one stroke on eight under with Dane Mark Haastrup a shot further back in third place.
FAIRMONT ST ANDREWS (scores)
1 CANTER, Laurie (A) Saltford 69 67 136 -8 Qualified
2 SCOTLAND, Zane Prince’s 66 71 137 -7 Qualified
3 HAASTRUP, Mark F Denmark 69 69 138 -6 Qualified
T33 DEVINE, Patrick Royal Dublin 74 74 148 +4
T39 RICE, Tim Limerick 76 73 149 +5
KINGSBARNS LINKS (scores)
1 MORIARTY, Colm Glasson 67 70 137 -7 Qualified
T2 BYRNE, James (A) Banchory 64 76 140 -4
T2 ABBOTT, Jamie (A) Fynn Valley 70 70 140 -4 Qualified
T2 LITTLE, Grant (A) Brampton 73 67 140 -4
T2 WHITEHOUSE, Tom The Belfry 71 69 140 -4 Qualified
T28 MCNAMARA, Cian Limerick 76 71 147 +3
T56 DIGNAM, John Slade Valley 75 80 155 +11
T1 HATTON, Tyrrell (A) Harleyford 67 69 136 -6 Qualified
T1 ARCHER, Phillip Birchwood 66 70 136 -6 Qualified
T3 EDWARDS, Simon Windermere 71 66 137 -5 Qualified
T3 WESSELINGH, Paul Kedleston Park 70 67 137 -5
T3 CARRANZA, Clodomiro Argentina 68 69 137 -5
T3 MACAULAY, Callum Tulliallan 68 69 137 -5
T31 SUGRUE, Daniel Killarney 71 74 145 +3
1 STREETER, Paul Lincoln 69 66 135 -5 Qualified
T2 SALTMAN, Lloyd Archerfield 66 71 137 -3
T2 CLARK, Gary Unattached 68 69 137 -3 Qualified
T2 TILEY, Steven Club ISM 69 68 137 -3 Qualified
5 ALLEN, Matt Berkshire 69 69 138 -2
T6 HIGGINS, David Waterville 66 73 139 -1
T22 O’KEEFFE, Peter Douglas 72 73 145 +5