Pair book Open place

Barry Lane
Barry Lane
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EXPERIENCE told at St Annes Old Links as veterans Barry Lane and Paul Broadhurst made it to the Open Golf Championship at Royal Lytham in two weeks’ time.

Broadhurst, whose round of 63 at St Andrews in 1990 has still to be bettered in any major, won the 36-hole final qualifying event with rounds of 70 and 67.

And with only three of the 72 players going through to Royal Lytham in a fortnight, Lane’s second round 70 enabled him to finish joint second with Argentina’s Rafa Echenique one behind on six under par.

Both Broadhurst, 47, and Lane, 52 are past members of the European Ryder Cup team.

Lytham will be the 682nd European Tour appearance of Lane’s career, only 24 short of Sam Torrance’s record and a remarkable record of longevity for a player now excelling on the Seniors circuit.

His Open debut came 25 years ago and the last time he played was in 2006, while Broadhurst’s debut was at Lytham in 1988 - he finished as low amateur - and he last qualified three years ago.

Among those to miss out on the course, one of four in use to decide 12 qualifiers, were Bristol’s Chris Wood - fifth in the 2008 Open as an amateur and then joint third the following year at Turnberry - and another ex-Ryder Cup man, Swede Jarmo Sandelin.

At Hillside it was an English trio who came through - former European Tour winner and one-time Lytham Trophy holder Warren Bennett, 2009 Walker Cup player Dale Whitnell and Kent’s Steven Tiley.

Ex-Ryder Cup duo Peter Baker and Mark James, Europe’s captain in 1999, failed along with James Conteh, son of former world light-heavyweight boxing champion John.

Whitnell, from Tiptree in Essex, beat Bennett by one and Tiley by three on nine under and was quickly Tweeting in celebration, : “Yes, yes, yes - the boy’s gonna be playing in The Open.”

Steve Alker won at West Lancashire on seven under, but fellow New Zealander Michael Campbell, United States Open champion seven years ago, shot level par - five too many to be in a play-off for the other two spots, which ultimately went to Scott Pinkney, of the United States, and Steven O’Hara, who is now based in Abu Dhabi.

Among those who missed out were Knott End’s Mark Bradley, Paul Eales, of St Annes, and Royal Lytham amateur Henry Tomlinson.