Date: July 11, 2007

Strong contingent for Open

Twenty-two Australasian golfers are currently in the field for this year&aposs British Open, the third major of the year. Australians Matthew Zions and Richard Green, along with New Zealand s Steven Alker, have added their names to the list of players to take part at next week s Open Championship. World No.39 Green found himself in the field as a replacement for Woody Austin as the highest non-exempt player. Austin withdrew from the event which will now see Green, winner of last month s Austrian Open, lining up at Carnoustie. Zions and Alker were two of just 12 players from a field of 384 who secured a place in the event after successfully making it through local final qualifying in the United Kingdom overnight on Tuesday. Both players finished in equal first place at their respective venues. A second round 68 to add to his first round leading 65 saw 28-year-old Zions finish in a tie at the top of the leaderboard at Montrose on 133 with England s David Shacklady. “This feels pretty good,” Zions said. “It was a long night and I realised I didn&apost have any plane tickets to get out of here so I thought it would be a good idea to stay around. Before Sunday afternoon I was not hitting it very well, but on the range it suddenly felt like the old me. I only made a few mistakes and hit some really good shots today.” At Panmure, Alker tied for first on five-under alongside home players Kevin Harper and Steve Parry. Alker mixed two birdies with an eagle in his first round even-par 70 and fired six birdies with one dropped shot in his second round. Alker will make his first visit to Carnoustie and has played at the British Open just once, in 1998 at Royal Birkdale where he missed the cut. “That was a decent round,” the 35-year-old said of his qualifying effort. “I just wanted to keep it going and I made no mistakes and putted nicely.” The three players join a host of big name local players, including Adam Scott, Stuart Appleby and Geoff Ogilvy.