Date: July 05, 2017
Author: Dave Tease

Ryan on the road to Royal Birkdale

Tasmania's Ryan McCarthy was the lone Australian to qualify overnight for this month's Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

McCarthy posted a two-under-par 142 at Gailes Links in Scotland to finish tied for third. Then, in a four-man playoff for the final spot, the 27-year-old holed an eight-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to secure his first start in a major championship.

Currently ranked No.1342 in the world, McCarthy will join nine other Australians already in the field: Ash Hall, Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Adam Bland, Aaron Baddeley, Scott Hend, Matt Griffin, Adam Scott and Jason Day.

In an interesting twist for Australian golf fans, Scotland's Connor Syme, who won the 2016 Australian Amateur Championship, also booked his place at Birkdale after finishing in a tie for first with American Julian Suri at four-under par, two shots ahead of McCarthy.

Sadly for the rest of the Aussies in action, final qualifying provided little joy.

Wollongong-based Jordan Zunic posted a tidy one-under-par round of 70 in his second round, however a first-round 75 left him facing a difficult task, while Daniel Fox withdrew after his first-round 75.

Victorian Richard Green fell two shots short of the mark at Hillside despite posting a 36-hole total of four under par. Paul Archibald, Ben Eccles, and Jack Munro all finished well back at four over par.

Dimi Papadatos came home with a three-under-par round of 69 for a two-round total of 142 at Notts Holliwell. Sadly, though, he was still five shots in arrears of the seven-under-par playoff mark for the final spot.

West Australian pair Ben Ferguson and Haydn Barron were well back at even par and seven over respectively, but no doubt will have gained plenty from the experience.

South Australian Nick Cullen finished a solitary shot shy of the playoff for the final qualifying spot at Royal Cinque Ports after posting rounds of 70 and 72, while at Woburn, where five-time Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter grabbed the headlines by qualifying, Matthew Giles and Jarryd Felton had little luck. Giles finished in a tie for 25th at one-over par, while Felton withdrew after a first-round 76.