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Paul Page is looking to face off against Tiger Woods again. (Photo: Getty Images)
Paul Page is looking to face off against Tiger Woods again. (Photo: Getty Images)

Page, who once beat Woods, is among those advancing

Paul Page, who beat Tiger Woods in the 1993 U.S. Amateur, was among 302 golfers who on Wednesday advanced to final British Open qualifying. A dozen spots will be decided next Monday and Tuesday near Liverpool.

LONDON (PA) -- England's Paul Page, whose early golf career included a win over a 17-year-old Tiger Woods at the 1993 U.S. Amateur, has given himself the chance to again take on the world No. 1 and defending champion at the 2006 British Open at Royal Liverpool later this month.

Page, a club professional now, returned a superb 65 on Wednesday in the regional qualifying tournament at Rochester and Cobham in Kent. He was among nearly 1,800 players at 16 courses around the British Isles competing for 302 places in final qualifying next Monday and Tuesday.

Scots Elliot and Zach Saltman, whose brother Lloyd finished 15th last year to take the silver medal as top amateur at the 2005 British Open, both came through at Musselburgh. They each scored 68.

"It would be great to get another Saltman in the Open," said Elliot Saltman. "Being around my brother at last year's Open gave me a taste of what it would be like. Just to get to the final stage is exciting and I'll go down there and enjoy it.

"I saw Elliot before I went out and I knew what he had shot, so that gave me something to aim for," added Zach Saltman.

The round of the day was a spectacular 64 at Orsett in Essex by Swede Johan Blixt. It was four shots better than Paul Curry, who knows all about going low. In his time on the European Tour, Curry fired a record-equaling 60 at Gleneagles during the 1992 Scottish Open.

Now comes the hard part for both of them, though. Just 12 places in the Open proper are available from the 36-hole final qualifying tournaments at Formby, Wallasey, West Lancs and Conwy in Wales.

Graeme Clark, a EuroPro Tour member from Doncaster, England, shot a 7-under 65 to head the field at Pannal. It proved a happy return at the Harrogate course for Clark, as it was there that he won the Yorkshire Amateur Championship and tied for the stroke-play title prior to turning professional in 2004.

Amateur John Carroll called the shots at Pleasington, equaling the course record with a 6-under 65. The 27-year-old painter and decorator from Huyton and Prescot brushed aside a strong professional field with an eagle and five birdies.

Darren Cain, a 25-year-old professional at Cheshire club Cheadle, played his first event in six months at Prestbury and shared the top spot after a 4-under 67. His score was matched by Scott Jackson.

Copyright 2006 PA Sport. All rights reserved.

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