No joy for Irish in Open Qualifying

No joy for Irish in Open Qualifying
Kevin LeBlanc. Picture:  Pat Cashman

Kevin LeBlanc. Picture: Pat Cashman

Ireland's 14-strong contingent came up empty-handed in Final Qualifying for The Open.

They were among the 288 hopefuls bidding for just 12 spots at four venues in England and Scotland but only The Island’s Kevin Le Blanc came close.

Ashton Turner, Oliver Wilson and Rhys Enoch at Notts; James Robinson, Marcus Armitage and Jack Senior at St Annes Old Links; amateur Sam Locke, Grant Forrest and Thomas Curtis at The Renaissance Club; and Tom Lewis, Icelander Haraldur Magnus and two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen at Prince’s were the lucky winners of spots at Carnoustie.

LeBlanc, a former Junior Open champion, finished four shots outside the top three at The Renaissance Club on one-under par after rounds of 69 and 72.

Derry’s Brendan McCarroll was the best of the Irish at Prince’s, finishing six shots behind Goosen, who took the final spot on one-under.

McCarroll shot rounds of 75 and 74 to finish on five-over par with Tramore amateur Robin Dawson, who was runner-up in both the Amateur Championship and the European Amateur Championship over the past fortnight, a shot further back after a brace of  75s.

Michael Hoey and Peter Williamson did not finish after opening with respective rounds of 74 and 75 at Notts Golf Club while at St Annes Old Links, where Graeme McDowell was a high profile withdrawal on Monday, Mallow amateur James Sugrue rallied from an opening 75 with a 67 but missed out by eight strokes.

Pádraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne have already qualified for Carnoustie but the likes of McDowell can still make it with three places still up for grabs at this week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and next week’s Scottish Open.

Seamus Power will have a chance to win one of four places on offer in PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic at Old White TPC this week and one more spot up for grabs in next week’s John Deere Classic.

Final Qualifying for The Open

The Renaissance Club: Qualifiers - 1, S Locke (Sco, Am) 69 66 135; 2, G Forrest 67 69 136; 3, T Curtis (Eng) 68 69 137. Irish: T8 K Le Blanc 69 72 141; 13 R Whitson 72 71 143; T37 C O’Rourke 73 75 148; T44 D McElroy 74 75 149; T48 B Best (Am) 74 77 151; T54 C Raymond 77 75 152.

Prince’s: Qualifiers: 1, T Lewis (Eng) 72 68 140; 2, H Magnus (Ice) 72 70 142; 3, R Goosen (RSA) 71 72 143. Irish: T16 B McCarroll 75 74 149; T23 R Dawson (Am) 75 75 150; T44 E Leonard 79 77 156.

Notts (Hollinwell): Qualifiers - 1, A Turner (Eng)  72 66 138; 2, O Wilson (Eng) 72 69 141; 3, R Enoch (Wal) 72 70 142. Irish: WD M Hoey 74 WD; RTD P Williamson 75 Rtd.

St Annes Old Links: Qualifiers - 1, J Robinson (Eng) 67 65 132; T2 M Armitage (Eng)  65 69 134, J Senior (Eng) 68 66 134. Irish: T14 J Sugrue (Am) 75 67 142; T19 N O’Briain 72 71 143; T62 Shane Franklin 77 76 153.