Golf: Law round in record 64

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The Independent Online
Gordon Law, who was sensationally disqualified from Open qualifying last year, set a course record of 64 at Glenbervie yesterday.

Law, 31, from the Uphall Club in West Lothian, signed a wrong card last July. "It was my own fault for not noticing the mix-up," he recalled.

"What made it all the more annoying was that my 66 would have enabled me to qualify for the championship proper by two shots. I'll never forget seeing my figures up there with the wrong name at the top."

Law has been enjoying one of his best seasons with winnings of pounds 13,000. He was fourth in the Scottish Championship at Dalmahoy and runner-up last month in the Club Professionals' Championship at County Louth.

That earned him a place in the Johnnie Walker PGA Cup match at Gleneagles and he was joined among the qualifiers by another member of the Great Britain and Ireland team, the Northumbrian Steve McKenna, who shot 67.

Law made his score without dropping a shot. He birdied four holes on the outward half and three more on the back nine, collecting twos at two of the four short holes. The Australian amateur James McCallum claimed second place with a 65, also without dropping a shot. In addition, he birdied three of the four short holes.

Thalidomide victim Geoff Nicholas's dream of playing in the Open was shattered before the tenacious Australian could even tee off. Nicholas, nicknamed ''The Little Jack Nicklaus" in his home country', broke part of his artificial leg while warming up in the driving net before the start of the qualifying competition at Copt Hill, near Birmingham.

As a result, the multiple winner of the world amputee title had to leave the course to get a simple repair and was too late to tee off. Nicholas has developed a successful career in Australia since his professional tour debut in 1992.

Meanwhile, the Worcestershire-based Rob Stevens (Abbey Park), shot a two-under-par 69 to end a frustrating three years and progress to the final qualifying stage.

The former British University champion has been a disillusioned player since 1993, when he blamed himself for Staffordshire failing to win the English County Championship, and has played little golf since.

This season his father, Ivan, urged him to try to qualify for the Open. The outcome was his best score for three years.