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Van de Velde qualifies for Open

Jean van de Velde
Van de Velde came close to winning the Open in 1999

Frenchman Jean van de Velde was one of 12 players to advance to this year's Open Championship at Royal Birkdale from final local qualifying on Tuesday.

Van de Velde, who blew a chance of Open glory at Carnoustie in 1999, finished second behind former Walker Cup player Jamie Elson at Hillside.

Van de Velde, who missed last year's Open at Carnoustie with a virus, just sneaked in with a birdie at the last.

"I qualified in 1999, so maybe this is my chance," said the 42-year-old.

"It means a lot to be playing in it again. There are only two tournaments a year I want to play in and play good in - the French Open and the Open."

Van de Velde, destined to be remembered for his last-hole triple-bogey seven at Carnoustie in 1999, had a reprieve when his ball was found in dense rough on the 17th.

They still talk to me about the Ryder Cup in Ireland, but it's a long time ago and I'm looking forward to next week

Open qualifier Philip Walton

And he pitched to within 18 inches of the flag on the 439-yard 18th to add a 73 to his first-round 70 and finish on three under par, tied for second with amateurs Chris Woods of Bristol and Rohan Blizard of Australia.

Van de Velde's playing partner Danny Willett, the former amateur world number one, missed out after a closing double-bogey six.

The Doncaster golfer has one more chance after receiving a late invitation to play this week's Scottish Open at Loch Lomond, but he will have to finish in the top five there.

Former Ryder Cup player Philip Walton of Ireland finished first in qualifying at West Lancashire.

Walton, 46, was the only man under par on two under, and finished three strokes ahead of Scotland's Barry Hume.

606: DEBATE

Walton, no longer a card holder on the European Tour, followed up a level-par 72 with a 70 and said: "This is one great course - the best links I've played.

"They still talk to me about the Ryder Cup in Ireland, but it's a long time ago and I'm looking forward to next week."

The third spot was taken by Kent professional Peter Appleyard, leaving ex-European Tour winner Jonathan Lomas to come through a three-way play-off.

Englishman Lomas made it through to his first Open since Troon in 1997 with a par on the third extra hole, with David Shacklady and Darren Parris missing out.

Twenty-year-old Kent amateur Tom Sherreard and Weymouth club professional Jon Bevan tied for first place at Southport and Ainsdale.

Stockport professional Jamie Howarth parred the first extra hole to qualify, but former amateur international Gary Boyd, from Northamptonshire, needed five more holes to beat Middlesbrough's Jonathan Lupton for the remaining spot.


The Open Championship, final local qualifying
(GB & Irl unless stated)

Hillside
-4 Jamie Elson 67 73
-1 Chris Wood (am) 71 72
-1 Rohan Blizard (Aus/am) 71 72
-1 Jean Van de Velde (Fra) 70 73

Southport and Ainsdale
-3 Thomas Sherreard (am) 72 69
-3 Jon Bevan 70 71
-1 Jamie Howarth 70 73*
-1 Gary Boyd 71 72*

West Lancashire
-2 Philip Walton 72 70
+1 Barry Hume 70 75
+3 Jonathan Lomas 75 72*
+3 Peter Appleyard 72 75*

* qualified via play-off




see also
Van de Velde's nightmare
11 Jul 00 |  Photo Galleries


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