Laird secures dream Open debut

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American-based Scot Martin Laird has qualified to play in his first Open Championship in July – and can’t wait to get there.

American-based Scot Martin Laird has qualified to play in his first Open Championship in July – and can’t wait to get there because Turnberry, the venue this year, is only 45 minutes away from where he grew up in Glasgow.

“This is a bit of a dream opportunity. I’ve never even played a professional event in Scotland – this is going to be great,” said the 26-year-old after squeezing through the American qualifier in Texas last night with nothing to spare.

Laird, who stayed on in the States after studying for a marketing degree in Colorado, fired rounds of 67 and 65 to finish 10 under par and so share third spot with Americans Davis Love and James Driscoll, Swedes Fredrik Jacobson and Richard S Johnson and New Zealander Tim Wilkinson.

Eight places were on offer and the first two went to former US Amateur champion Matt Kuchar and fellow American Jeff Overton.

However, Jesper Parnevik, who lost by one to Nick Price at Turnberry in 1994 after standing on the final tee three clear, missed out by two.

The 44-year-old, who followed up an opening 64 with only a 70, bogeyed the last hole 15 years ago and was pipped when Price finished birdie-eagle-par.
Former PGA Champion and Ryder Cup star Love secured a 23rd consecutive start at the Open after finishing in the first group of the day and waiting for two hours to see if he had done enough.

“It’s my favourite major – the way they set up the course and the tradition,” he commented. “It’s certainly the one where I feel like I have a real good chance to be competitive.”

Others to miss out included New Zealander Danny Lee, the youngest-ever winner on the European Tour when he took the Johnnie Walker Classic as an amateur in February, Swede Daniel Chopra and German Alex Cejka, who led the recent Players Championship before faltering. He began with a 63 but then returned a 71.

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