Scotland earns Open berth 11 years after becoming youngest qualifier

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Zane Scotland qualified for the British Open Tuesday with what he called “my best round of the year.”
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PA Sport

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Published: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 | 10:55 p.m.

Zane Scotland, who became the youngest player to qualify for the British Open when he earned a place in 1999 at Carnoustie, then age 16, finished in second place on the Torrance Course at Fairmont St. Andrews Tuesday to earn his first Open Championship appearance in more than a decade. A total of 12 players earned berths at St. Andrews next month out of the 288 players who participated in Tuesday’s 36-hole Local Final Qualifying events at several venues.

Scotland had led by two after an opening 6-under-par 66, a round which included a pitching wedge holed from 120 yards for eagle at the par-4 first -- his 10th hole of the morning. The 27-year-old followed up with a 1-under-par 71 to take the second of three Open berths available at the venue.

“I’ve been playing well on the Challenge Tour, but this is my best round of the year. I’ve been waiting for it for a while,” said Scotland of his first round. “I missed out by a shot last year, so it’s nice to get in. I’ve been working really hard on my game and it seems to be paying off.”

Finishing top of the leaderboard at Fairmont St Andrews was amateur Laurie Canter. A former national tennis player, Canter shot rounds of 67 and 69 to edge out Scotland by one stroke.

“I’ve just been picked for the England team at the European Championships in Sweden, and I get back on the Sunday before the Open, so I’m going to be busy,” said the 2010 South African Amateur champion, who has been mentored by former Ryder Cup player Gordon Brand Jr. “It’s been a good year and playing in The Open will make it even better.”

At Ladybank, England’s Phillip Archer, one of the few players to have signed for a 60 on the European Tour, a feat he accomplished at the 2006 Celtic Manor Wales Open, finished on a total of 6 under par to finish at the top of the leaderboard, tied with 18-year-old English amateur Tyrell Hatton.

“It feels great,” said the 38-year-old, who made the cut at Royal Birkdale in 2008, his only other Open appearance. “To play in a major adds a different aspect to your career, and there will be no better one than this, the 150th Anniversary Open at the Home of Golf.”

It was Ireland’s Colm Moriarty who took the first of the three Open Championship places available at Kingsbarns. His 7-under total of 137 left the 31-year-old three shots clear of the field.

“It’ll be my first time in the Open,” said the Challenge Tour player, who was a member of Great Britain and Ireland’s 2003 winning Walker Cup team. “I’m delighted to make it to St. Andrews.”

2010 British Amateur Championship runner-up James Byrne, who had led the field by three at the halfway stage following an opening round of 8-under-par 64, found himself in a four-man, sudden-death playoff for the two remaining Open places available, after a second-round 76. The 21-year-old failed to regain his morning form, leaving Englishmen Paul Whitehouse and 23-year-old amateur Jamie Abbott to qualify.

England’s Paul Streeter led the field by two strokes at Scotscraig on a 5-under-par total of 135.

“I went to look at the Old Course yesterday and it brought a lump to my throat,” said the 43-year-old. “It will be a dream to play there.”

Fellow Englishman Gary Clark, winner of the Bronze Medal at the 1995 Open Championship, and Steven Tilley both came through a three-man playoff for the two other available Open places. Missing out was Scotland’s Lloyd Saltman, the winner of the Silver Medal for the leading amateur at the 2005 Open Championship.

The other successful qualifiers were Denmark’s Mark F Haastrup (Fairmont St Andrews) and Simon Edwards of England (Ladybank).

Across four venues in Fife, 288 players were competing for 12 places in the 150th Anniversary Open Championship. Three berths were available at each course.