Golf / 123rd Open Championship: Feherty books berth with course record: Dallas-based Irishman fires 63 in final round of Open qualifying at Kilmarnock Barassie but Nicklaus and son go separate ways

DAVID FEHERTY followed a 73 with a 63 in final qualifying yesterday to secure his place in the 123rd Open Championship and possibly the Guinness Book of Records under the category of dramatic comebacks. The Irishman equalled the course record at Kilmarnock Barassie with eight birdies. 'I never doubted I could get back into it,' Feherty said.

The Ryder Cup player emigrated to Dallas from Northern Ireland last year and has been having a lean time of it on the US Tour after gaining his card at the qualifying school. On Sunday, he saw Kilmarnock Barassie for the first time. 'My 73 was a practice round,' he said. 'I desperately wanted to play in the Open. For the first time this year I got goose pimples. The last thing I wanted to do was to fly back to Dallas while the Open was on. I'm over the moon.' Des Smyth, who also qualified at Kilmarnock Barassie with a 65, said: 'Feherty's performance under the cosh was fantastic.'

For every astronaut there were 10 as sick as parrots. Iain Pyman who, as Amateur champion, graced the Open at Royal St George's in Sandwich 12 months ago, will not play at Turnberry after failing in a play-off at Irvine Bogside. Pyman and three others - Derrick Cooper, Nic Henning and Craig Jones - were fighting for the last two places and at the first extra hole he hooked his drive out of bounds. With his second ball he got a birdie, but it was a stroke too much. Cooper was the other casualty. Pyman, who turned professional after playing in the Masters at Augusta National in April, set the lowest score for an amateur in the Open last year with an aggregate of 281.

A total of 480 players played for 55 places on four courses and at Western Gailes 10 players on 139, three under par for the two rounds, had to play off for the final spot. It went to Ruben Alvarez, of Argentina who made a birdie at the third extra hole. Gordon J Brand, who finished runner-up to Greg Norman in the Open at Turnberry in 1986, was one of the disappointed nine.

The Australian Brett Ogle, who narrowly failed to gain exemption when he was beaten in a four-man play-off for three places at the Scottish Open at Gleneagles on Saturday, failed again yesterday and other notable tour professionals to miss Britain's greatest festival of golf are D J Russell, Chris Moody, Peter Fowler and Philip Price.

At Kilmarnock Barassie, where seven went into a play-off for three places, two amateurs survived, Stephen Pullan from Sand Moor and Craig Evans from West Monmouthshire. Another amateur, Warren Bennett from Ruislip, also qualified, scoring 68, 68 at Irvine Bogside. The 22-year-old Bennett holds the Australian amateur title and the Lytham Trophy. Evans, 23, is also considered to be an outstanding prospect and last week won the Carad Trophy in Cardiff by 16 strokes, his third Welsh Order of Merit victory of the season. Last year he was a member of the Wales team who won the European Championship in the Czech Republic.

As Jack Nicklaus arrived at Turnberry, his 25-year-old son Gary was packing his bags for a flight back to the US. Nicklaus shot 71, 73 at Western Gailes. As for the Frenchman Antoine Lebouc, he scored 80 at Kilmarnock Barassie but deserves a mention in dispatches for honesty. Playing it by le book, he called a four-shot penalty on himself at the second hole. That is where he discovered he had two putters in his bag.


THE OPEN: Qualifiers from the 36-hole final qualifying competitions (GB or Irl unless stated): (Glasgow Gailes): 134 K Triplett (US) 69 65. 135 K Stables 66 69; A Gillner (Swe) 67 68. 136 C Gillies 64 72; F Lindgren (Swe) 67 69; M Mouland 67 69. 137 P-U Johansson (Swe) 68 69; C Cassells 71 66; A Coltart 68 69; J van de Velde (Fr) 67 70; K Waters 66 71. 138 A George 71 67; M Clayton (Aus) 70 68; T Price (Aus) 71 67.

(Irvine Bogside): 134 P Fulke (Swe) 67 67; B Marchbank 68 66. 135 R Claydon 67 68. 136 W Riley (Aus) 69 67; A Bossert (Swit) 69 67, * W Bennett 68 68; P Way 66 70. 137 G Evans 68 69; J Wright 70 67. 138 D Hospital (Sp) 70 68; G Emerson 70 68; C O'Connor Jnr 69 69.

(Kilmarnock Barassie): 133 M Davis 65 68. 134 K Walker 69 65; M Krantz (Swe) 67 67. 135 F Quinn (US) 69 66; S Tinning (Den) 70 65; D Smyth 70 65. 136 C Green 68 68; H Twitty (US) 69 67; D Feherty 73 63. 137 J M Canizares (Sp) 70 67; S Robertson 71 66.

(Western Gailes): 131 R McFarlane 66 65. 132 G Turner (NZ) 65 67. 133 P Jacobsen (US) 68 65. 135 G Orr 68 67; C Ronald 68 67. 136 P McGinley 65 71; L Fickling 65 71. 137 J Higgins 66 71; M Harwood (Aus) 70 67. 138 P Smith 70 68; C Gray (Aus) 73 65; M Campbell (NZ) 69 69.

* denotes amateur.

(Photograph omitted)

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