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Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Saturday, 17 July 2010 12:24 UK

The Open 2010: Rock in, Whitehouse out at Open

The Open Championship, St Andrews, 15-18 July
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Red Button, BBC Sport website, with updates on BBC Radio 5 live Full coverage details

By Ged Scott
BBC Sport at St Andrews

Robert Rock
Rock faced a nervous night waiting to see whether he would make the cut

Midlanders Rob Rock and Tom Whitehouse experienced differing fortunes at St Andrews on Saturday morning when they resumed their battle to make the cut.

Dropped shots from the players still out on the course helped Rock sneak into the third round on two over.

But, in the final group, Whitehouse suffered a cruel fate, making a rare birdie at 17 to go to three over, only to then miss a birdie putt at the last.

"I'm gutted, to be honest. I didn't think it was missing," he said.

The 30-year-old Birmingham golfer continued: "But it broke just at the end and missed on the right.

That's golf. That's why it's the best and the worst sport in the world. I just keep missing by one at The Open

Tom Whitehouse

"And I was unlucky with my drive too. I went up the right looking to bring it in off the bank, but it pitched on the side of the hill, then kicked right and that left me having to come round rather than more up the green."

Whitehouse was particularly disappointed with his 74, to finish one too many on three over, having given himself a chance with his stunning birdie at the Road Hole just minutes earlier.

"I hit the two best shots I've ever done," he said. "I hit my five iron 195 yards to eight feet, then sunk it.

"And it was great to hear that roar. A lot came up from Maxstoke Park, as well as my mum and dad. In fact, I'm sure you could probably hear my dad's friend Bruce he was so loud."

Whitehouse, who had holed a tremendous rollercoaster 50-footer in Final Qualifying at Kingsbarns to make it The Open in the first place, then missed his crucial eight footer at the last.

But, as he said: "That's golf. That's why it's the best and the worst sport in the world.

"I just keep missing by one at The Open. I missed by one last time at Muirfield in 2002.

"But I've proved to myself this week that I'm not far away from doing something good and that I can play at this standard.

"My attitude was good. I had the worst draw out of anyone. But I never thought I can't do this, even when the flags were so difficult on that back nine for where the wind was.

I was a bit lucky to make it in the end. I really thought I would miss the cut when I came off on Friday evening

Rob Rock

"And coming back on the course this morning, we all struggled to get the pace of the greens early on. They were definitely slower, as they haven't been cut."

That cost him the first of his two dropped shots of the day, when he resumed his round by three putting at the 11th, followed by another bogey at 12 when he got a flier coming out of the rough and went over the back of the green.

And that was no reward for the way, after dropping an early shot at the second when he started his round close to 1800 BST on Friday, he recovered from a dropped early shot at the second to reel off nine straight pars.

But, although Whitehouse knew that a good finish this week could have been the kick-start he needed for his career after a couple of injury-hit years in the doldrums, he remains very positive.

"I'll play in Justin Rose's charity day at Stoke Park this week and then at Stoke by Nayland in next week's Challenge Tour event and try to win back my tour card that way.

"I will go to tour school if that's what it takes but hopefully I won't need to if I keep playing like I did this week," he said.

By contrast, Whitehouse's Belfry colleague Rock had a long, nervous night before discovering that he had made it through.

"I was a bit lucky to make it in the end," admitted Rock. "I really thought I would miss the cut when I came off on Friday evening."

When play finally finished so late on Friday evening (2145 BST), Rock had long since shot a disappointing 78 in the high winds to come in on two over.

After his first day 68, Rock was left frustrated at leaving himself in such a position, despite being badly affected by the brutal weather that battered the wind-torn Old Course.

"It was hard out there," Rock told BBC Sport. "It was pretty obvious midway into the round that I was going to fall a long way behind. And that's disappointing as I didn't come here just to try and make the cut."



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