Saltmans add local spice and brotherly love to Open
Wednesday 08 July 2009
The Saltman Brothers may sound like a pair of Edinburgh gangsters – or worse, like a couple of bankers – but they will in fact become the first siblings to play in next week's Open Championship since Seve and Manuel Ballesteros at St Andrews in 1984. Lloyd, or perhaps, Elliot, may wish to know that Seve won the tournament on that occasion.
Certainly it was easy to dream of such eventualities in the Saltman family home in East Lothians last night after the duo had survived the golfing version of the lottery and won two of the 12 spots on offer for the 296 players competing on three courses in the Glasgow area. Lloyd fired a 10-under total over 36 holes to scrape through at Barassie while three-under was also just enough for Elliot at Glasgow Gailes.
The fact that names of the quality of Jose Maria Olazabal, twice a Masters champion, Jean van de Velde and Brad Faxon were among the heartbroken only emphasised the remarkable nature of their achievement. "Wow – it's just fantastic that both of us are going to be at Turnberry next week," Lloyd said. "Obviously we were both well-placed after the first round and after I finished today I went over to watch him. It was tense, but we made it."
Lloyd was undoubtedly the more fancied going into final qualifying. While his elder brother of four years has yet to experience the Open thrill – Elliot plies his trade on the lowly EuroPro Tour – Lloyd won leading amateur honours at St Andrews in 2005. Then just a 19-year-old, he was tipped as the future of Scottish golf when he finished 15th on the Old Course beating performers such as Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson in the process.
Alas, the professional ranks were not as easily broken as everyone suspected and this team-mate of Rory McIlroy in the 2007 Walker Cup has struggled to establish himself on the Challenge Tour. Turnberry gives him, and indeed Elliot, the chance to crack the big time. "I've always wanted to be back at The Open," said Lloyd. "It was a week I'll never forget back in 2005 and now with my brother also in the field I'm sure this will be just as special."
One man who will not be with them, however, is the European No 1, Robert Karlsson. The Swede, who denied Padraig Harrington last year's Order of Merit title, has been suffering with fluid on his retina and will join an absent list set to include Mickelson. The world No 2 is almost certain to remain at home in California with his wife, Amy, who has recently undergone surgery for breast cancer.
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