Monty misses out on Open spot
Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal were among those to miss out in the Open Championship qualifier at Sunningdale on Monday, but England's Sam Walker will finally make his debut at Royal Lytham next month after 10 previous attempts.
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Montgomerie, who took two strokes too many in a qualifying event for the US Open four weeks ago, came even closer this time but was left needing to hole a bunker shot on the final hole to go into a play-off.
The shot had the length but finished six feet wide, and so the 49-year-old was able to add only a level-par 70 on the Old Course to his morning three-under 66 round the adjoining New.
Olazabal, the Scot's successor as Ryder Cup captain, was on track to make it when he reached five under after 14 holes, but fell back to one under with rounds of 67 and 71.
Montgomerie, who could still be part of the Lytham action with a top-five finish at the French or Scottish Opens, left without comment.
The 46-year-old Spaniard, who was also seeking a 21st appearance in The Open, said: "I made a great start, but then had too many putts and when I hit a bad shot on the 16th that was it.
"It's consistency - you have to do it for 18 holes four days in a row."
Or in this case, two rounds in a row.
Walker, who made his first try to qualify 14 years ago when he was 20, finished second to compatriot James Morrison as the 96-strong field battled for 10 spots.
"It's been a massive 24 hours for me - I should rush around more often," said the Birmingham golfer, who won a Challenge Tour in Scotland, flew back home and then set off at 5am in order to make his tee-off time.
"I'm tired, but it feels amazing and it's going to be fantastic to play. It'll be one of the best things in my life."
Morrison, another who will be making his Open debut, finished eight under after rounds of 63 and 68.
He was up even earlier for a 6.48am start - and that after a disturbed night thanks to his 12-day-old son Finley.
"I was fighting a few demons the last few holes," he said, remembering he had finished bogey-bogey to miss out by one last year.
Sparkling though Morrison's first round was, it was bettered by one in the afternoon by Welshman Jamie Donaldson as he made it through with only a single shot to spare.
That 62 equalled the course record which Montgomerie himself matched two years ago.
For Donaldson it will be a second Open, while England's Matthew Baldwin will play his first a month after qualifying for a US Open debut.
He too finished five under, as did compatriot Richard Finch, Spain's Alejandro Canizares and Australian Marcus Fraser.
However, Finch's fellow Yorkshireman Danny Willett, who beat Fraser in a four-hole play-off for the BMW International Open in Cologne yesterday, missed out by four shots.
After a 9.30pm flight back from Germany, Willett had "a couple of beers" to celebrate his first European Tour victory and did not get to bed until 2am.
Others to fail included Tom Lewis, who led after the opening day at Sandwich last July and with his 65 achieved the lowest round ever by an amateur in The Open, Italian teenager Matteo Manassero and Swede Niclas Fasth, runner-up to David Duval on Lytham's last staging of the championship in 2001.
Willett could still qualify through a mini money list which ends this week at the Irish Open. He is just over £100 behind South African Richard Sterne, who missed out himself by one stroke.
Five players - English pair Lee Slattery and Oliver Fisher, Scot Alastair Forsyth, Swede Oscar Floren and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen - were involved in the play-off for the last two places on offer.
Fisher and Floren exited with bogeys at the first extra hole, Olesen qualified with a birdie at the next and then Forsyth missed a three-foot par putt on the third which put Slattery through to his second Open.
Meanwhile West Ham midfielder Gary O'Neil's bid to qualify for the Open ended at the first hurdle.
The 29-year-old managed only a 79 in the local qualifying event at The London Club in Kent.
He was among more than 1,400 players taking part at 14 courses around Britain and Ireland.
The successful ones still had to negotiate 36 holes of final qualifying next week. From that only 12 out of 288 players at four courses go through to Royal Lytham next month.
Collated final round scores and totals at Sunningdale Old Course (par 70) and Sunningdale New Course (par 69)
(Gbr and Irl unless stated):
131 James Morrison 63 68
133 Sam Walker 68 65
134 Alejandro Canizares (Spa) 68 66, Richard Finch 67 67, Matthew Baldwin 69 65, Jamie Donaldson 72 62, Ross Fisher 64 70, Marcus Fraser (Aus) 66 68
135 Lee Slattery 67 68, Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 67 68
135 Oliver Fisher 69 66, Alastair Forsyth 69 66, Oscar Floren (Swe) 69 66
136 Richard Sterne (Rsa) 69 67, Matteo Manassero (Ita) 68 68, Andrew Johnston 71 65, Peter Hedblom (Swe) 71 65, Richard Bland 67 69, Colin Montgomerie 66 70, Stephen Gallacher 68 68
137 Fredrik Andersson Hed (Swe) 68 69, Shane Lowry 69 68, Peter Karmis (Rsa) 68 69, Jorge Campillo (Spa) 70 67, Markus Brier (Aut) 71 66, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 70 67, David Horsey 69 68, Eduardo de la Riva (Spa) 69 68, Steve Webster 69 68
138 Edouard Dubois (Fra) 69 69, Daniel Denison 71 67, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 71 67, Jose Maria Olazabal (Spa) 67 71, Niclas Fasth (Swe) 69 69
139 Jamie Elson 71 68, Romain Wattel (Fra) 70 69, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 69 70, Julien Quesne (Fra) 70 69, Thomas Norret (Den) 69 70
140 Robert Coles 67 73, Seve Benson 66 74, Scott Jamieson 70 70, Simon Wakefield 66 74, David Howell 66 74, Richard Green (Aus) 69 71
141 Sam Hutsby 70 71, David Dixon 70 71, Peter Lawrie 72 69, Sam Little 71 70, Mark Tullo (Chi) 71 70
142 Andrew Dodt (Aus) 68 74, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra) 70 72
143 Andreas Harto (Den) 72 71, Jamie Moul 69 74, Mark Laskey 73 70, Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 72 71, Michael Jonzon (Swe) 71 72
144 Tjaart Van der Walt (Rsa) 74 70, Tom Lewis 72 72
145 Magnus Carlsson (Swe) 72 73, Rhys Davies 73 72
146 Matthew Southgate 72 74, Benn Barham 68 78
157 Bradley Smith (Aus) 75 82
WD: Craig Lee (Sco) 68, Rich Beem (USA) 71, Mark Foster (Eng) 70, Ricardo Santos (Por) 75, Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind) 74, Felipe Aguilar (Chi) 72, Per Edberg (Swe) 67, Cesar Monasterio (Arg) 74, Graeme Storm (Eng) 72, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 71, Carlos Del Moral (Spa) 75, Marc Warren (Sco) 71, Oliver Wilson (Eng) 72, Richard Mcevoy (Eng) 70, Christian Nilsson (Swe) 71, David Drysdale (Sco) 73, Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 72, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 78, Kenneth Ferrie (Eng) 71, Bradley Dredge (Wal), Charles-Edouard Russo (Fra) 82, Brett Rumford (Aus) 72, Estanislao Goya (Arg) 73, Peter Whiteford (Sco) 72, Pablo Martin (Spa) 77, Gary Boyd (Eng) 75, John Parry (Eng) 73, Joel Sjoholm (Swe) 74, Fabrizio Zanotti (Par) 76, Paul Mcginley (Irl) 75