English denies England’s Open hope

Greg Owen
Greg Owen
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THERE were some stirring deeds – and disappointments – in the United States qualifier for this summer’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

Pride of place went to young American Harris English, who led the qualifying in Texas with stunning rounds of 60 and 63.

He beat England’s Greg Owen – well known for one spectacular piece of play when the Open was last at Lytham in 2001 – by four strokes as eight spots were secured.

English, who joined the professional ranks after last year’s Walker Cup, said afterwards: “I was relaxed – I had some fun.

“I was striking the ball really well. In fact, I was doing everything really well.

“I knew the wind wasn’t going to be blowing, so I knew the scores were going to be low.

“I couldn’t let up.

“I decided to keep the pedal to the metal on the last 18 holes, where I left myself in really good position to make putts.”

Speaking about his achievement in making it to Lytham, English said: “It’s awesome.

“I told my parents and my agent that I really, really wanted to play in the Open, and here I go.”

Owen, who had an albatross, and led for a while the last time The Open was at Lytham in 2001, added an afternoon 61 to his opening 66 to finish 13 under.

“It was just a good round where everything just kept going the right way,” the US-based Mansfield golfer said: “I have not had a round like that for years.”

Joint-third on 10 under were Canadian Stephen Ames, Argentina’s Andres Romero, who led with two holes to play at Carnoustie in 2007, and American Justin Hicks.

A play-off for the last three spots involved Americans James Driscoll and Bob Estes, Sweden’s Daniel Chopra and Scot Russell Knox.

Estes birdied the first, while a pair of pars at the short 17th was enough for Driscoll and Chopra. Among those missing out were Swede Henrik Stenson, and Londoner Brian Davis.

The European qualifying stage takes place at Sunningdale on June 25.