Date: July 08, 2013

Holidays on hold as Wade set for Open

This year’s most unlikely qualifier for the British Open, Victorian veteran club professional John Wade, is quietly preparing for the world’s biggest event after being forced to interrupt his breezy English holidays.
The 45-year-old Commonwealth club pro had decided he might as well enter qualifying but the thought he would win a spot in the field for the Open at Muirfield in just under two weeks never really entered his head.
He had to re-think his plans, however, after shooting a 63 in the final round of 36-hole Local Final Qualifying at Dunbar in Scotland.
Wade shot rounds of 70-63 to finish at seven-under 133, tied for second with India’s Shiv Kapur and one shot behind local amateur Grant Forrest.
The top three finishers at each of four qualifying courses near Muirfield all earned spots in the Open from July 18-21.
 Fellow Australian Daniel Gaunt just missed out on claiming a spot in the year’s third major.
 He fired 67 and 71 at North Berwick for a total of four-under 138, with five-under being the cut-off.
Wade teed up in the 2005 British Open at St Andrews but had reconciled himself to never competing in the tournament again and was stunned when he blasted his way in with his 63.
“It was an emotional day – I went from not really expecting anything to having a pretty strong heartbeat in the last couple of holes,” Wade told
He shot 70 in the morning round and was preparing for a regulation exit before his game unexpectedly lit up.
"Suddenly I strung together some good holes and holed some putts and the conditions were tough in the afternoon which was what I needed and I came home like a steam train really and thought I was a big chance," he said.
"That’s probably what I’m most proud of, just being able to come home in 29 under that pressure when you’re not playing any golf – that’s the big bonus.
"My original plan was to play qualifying, probably miss and go on to the rest of the holiday."
Now Wade intends to focus on the Open in his own way and has begun preparations in a low key manner.
"I think now there’s a two week gap, I’ll just drive down to where I’m going to base myself for the next week and play some golf down here. 
"There are a few good links courses – I used to practice at Royal Lytham – and my experience from 2005 was that it’s a pretty exhausting week so I’ll probably just get away and do a bit of practice in my own time," Wade said.
Wade said he plans to keep his routine and preparation relatively quiet given his lack of competitive golf in recent months.
"I don’t think there’s much point in ramping it up big time when the body doesn’t know what it’s doing so I think it’s trying to get the right balance. 
"Another event somewhere is not a bad option but I’d probably have to drive miles looking at the European pro schedule so I think I’ll keep the freshness and go in with a bit of practice locally," Wade said.
He said it was his relaxed approach to qualifying, free from the pressure of expectations, which had allowed him to play so well.
“It’s just the fact that you don’t expect too much – and that’s the way I’ve got to look at it still.
"I’ve got to be realistic about my preparation versus a lot of them (other players) but I’ll just do what I’m doing and see where it takes me,” Wade said.
   – Robert Grant