Dougherty sees the funny side

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Nick Dougherty could not stop himself laughing on Sunday after the inevitable question came up about his Open chances.

Nick Dougherty could not stop himself laughing on Sunday after the inevitable question came up about his Open chances following his victory in the BMW International Open in Germany.
Apart from the usual victor’s spoils, Dougherty’s one-stroke win over Argentina’s Rafa Echenique earned the Englishman a place in the Open at Turnberry, this after the Argentine, in highly dramatic fashion, had sunk a 243-yard three-iron for an albatross two on the closing hole two push South Africa’s Retief Goosen into second place.
When asked about his chances of now winning a major, Liverpool’s 27-year-old Dougherety just chuckled and said: “It’s amazing how quickly the questions change.
“A few weeks ago people were asking me ‘Are you going to get your form back?’ and ‘How are you going to work your way back to being one of the better players in Europe?’
“Now it’s about majors. I love it.”
Dougherty’s slide since his mother died suddenly from a heart attack just after his Masters debut last year had taken him not only out of the world’s top 50, but out of the top 100 as well.
He failed to make it into the Ryder Cup, he failed to earn a return trip to Augusta and he failed to come through qualifying events for both the US Open and Open Championship at Turnberry as well.
But now he will be at Turnberry through a mini-Order of Merit that he did not even know much about until he was told he was in position to take one of the two spots on offer yesterday.
Having led the US Open two years ago, however, Dougherty does not rule out the possibility that he could be Britain’s next major champion.
“People are always going on about experience, but I believe that Lucas Glover (the new US Open champion) is a great example and I believe that if I keep doing what I am I’ll have some chances down the line – and hopefully I’ll take some of them.
“Last year was a terrible year for me in more ways than one. I’ve covered this and I hate going over it, but I just collapsed after my Mum died.
“Up until then I was going to make the Ryder Cup, I was definitely one of the best players in Europe, I finished seventh in the US Open, played with Tiger Woods in it, felt comfortable and everything was hunky-dory.
“Then my world turned upside down. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I wasn’t prepared for it. It was horrible.
“There were times last year when I was probably thinking ‘Once my exemption runs out how am I going to keep my card?’ because I was playing so bad.
“People who know me and my golf game thought I was crazy, but these things happen.
“In time, though, you start to heal. I collected myself and I realised that I have the potential to be a great player. Days like today are not a coincidence – I can do this.”
ALL THE FINAL ROUND SCORES
(Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72)

266 Nick Dougherty 69 65 68 64
267 Rafael Echenique (Arg) 68 69 68 62
270 Retief Goosen (Rsa) 64 68 67 71
271 Felipe Aguilar (Chi) 69 70 66 66, David Drysdale 70 64 68 69, Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa) 69 67 70 65, Graeme Storm 70 70 64 67
272 Shiv Kapur (Ind) 71 66 70 65
273 Bernhard Langer (Ger) 68 68 65 72, Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 68 65 70 70, James Kingston (Rsa) 67 69 67 70, Richard Green (Aus) 71 68 68 66, Danny Willett 67 68 71 67, Thomas Levet (Fra) 68 67 70 68
274 Rory McIlroy 71 67 69 67
275 Magnus A Carlsson (Swe) 73 68 66 68, Niclas Fasth (Swe) 67 73 72 63, David Lynn 67 70 71 67
276 Peter Lawrie 69 68 70 69, Bradley Dredge 72 69 66 69
277 Anders Hansen (Den) 69 69 69 70, Pelle Edberg (Swe) 71 69 66 71, Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia (Ind) 69 70 70 68, Paul Broadhurst 69 70 65 73, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 69 66 74 68
278 Gary Orr 70 70 67 71, Maarten Lafeber (Ned) 67 70 70 71
279 Andrew Coltart 67 71 71 70, Peter Hedblom (Swe) 70 69 69 71
280 Chris Wood 71 69 71 69, Scott Strange (Aus) 70 68 70 72, John Bickerton 70 70 70 70, Oliver Fisher 68 69 71 72, Johan Edfors (Swe) 71 69 70 70
281 Robert Jan Derksen (Ned) 69 71 71 70, Marco Ruiz (Par) 73 67 68 73, Stephen Dodd 68 69 72 72, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 72 69 68 72, Markus Brier (Aut) 69 71 70 71, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 69 69 69 74, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 72 68 71 70, Chinnarat Phadungsil (Tha) 69 69 73 70, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 68 72 72 69
282 Max Kramer (Aut) 71 69 73 69, Steven O’Hara 71 70 70 71
283 Anthony Wall 74 66 70 73, Carlos Del Moral (Spa) 70 71 76 66, Hennie Otto (Rsa) 72 69 73 69, Phillip Price 67 72 69 75, Marcus Fraser (Aus) 67 74 73 69
284 Gary Lockerbie 72 68 69 75, Lee Slattery 70 70 72 72, Jarmo Sandelin (Swe) 68 71 71 74, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 67 71 71 75, Klas Eriksson (Swe) 70 71 69 74, Luke Donald 70 68 73 73, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 70 70 72 72
285 Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra) 70 70 69 76, Richard Finch 66 71 73 75, Gareth Maybin 71 68 74 72, Kenneth Ferrie 69 72 73 71
286 Gary Murphy 71 70 72 73, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (Spa) 69 71 74 72, Seve Benson 70 71 70 75
287 Joakim Haeggman (Swe) 72 67 76 72
289 Colin Montgomerie 70 71 72 76, Phillip Archer 69 72 74 74, Scott Drummond 71 69 73 76
292 Michael Hoey 70 71 71 80
293 Barry Lane 68 73 78 74
297 Michael Jonzon (Swe) 70 71 78 78

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