Pinckney's record round earns Open spot
Scott Pinckney can look forward to his biggest tournament of the year after blitzing his way into the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
Pinckney, a former Arizona State player, set a professional course record at West Lancashire (England) Golf Club with a second round 8-under 64 in Local Final Qualifying for the July 19-22 Open Championship. Pinckney opened with a 75, but after the course-record on the final 18 finished at 5 under par for the 36 holes, good enough to earn a spot in a four-man playoff for two spots.
Pinckney took one of those spots along with Scotland’s Steven O’Hara at the expense of Welsh amateur Richard Bentham (70-69) and American Marty Jertson (66-73). New Zealand’s Steven Alker took first place at West Lancs after rounds of 69 and 68 for a 7-under 137.
Pinckney played the final nine holes in 7 under. He chipped in twice and missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the last hole after his ball hit a spike mark.
“It is going to be really special to play in an Open,” Pinckney said. “I still can’t quite believe it. It is going to be a real fun test at Lytham. I can’t wait to play in my second major and first as a professional. I’ve never played Lytham, but obviously playing in these kinds of events is the ultimate goal. This is a big step forward for me.”
Pinckney qualified for last year’s U.S. Open as an amateur but missed the cut. He’s played this season mostly on the European Challenge Tour but is ranked 176th on that money list, with €1,944 in earnings.
PGA Tour veteran Scott Dunlap missed out at West Lancs, shooting 70-71 to miss the playoff by two shots. Former U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell also failed to qualify. He was level par for the two rounds.
European Tour veterans Paul Broadhurst and Barry Lane of England earned the right to play at Royal Lytham after taking two of the three places on offer at St. Anne’s Old Links. Broadhurst, a six-time European Tour winner, led the way with scores of 70 and 67 for a 7-under 137 total. Lane, a five-time winner on the European Tour, was one shot worse after rounds of 68 and 70 for 136. The 52-year-old European Senior Tour player tied for second with Argentina’s Rafa Echenique.
Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers, third in the R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking, missed out on a playoff by one shot after rounds of 69 and 70. England’s Chris Wood (68-73) missed a playoff spot by two shots. Wood placed fifth in the 2008 Open Championship and third in 2009. Sweden’s Jarmo Sandelin, a member of the 1999 European Ryder Cup team, also after shooting 76-74.
American Peter Uihlein, a former U.S. Amateur champion, missed by six shots at Southport & Ainsdale with scores of 74 and 70 for a level par total of 144. England's Nick Dougherty, a three-time European Tour winner, also failed to qualify despite consecutive scores of 70.
Denmark’s Morten Orum Madsen took the top spot at Southport & Ainsdale with scores of 65 and 71 for an 8-under 136. England’s Ian Keenan and Scotland's Elliot Saltman took the other two spots after finishing at 6-under 138. Scotland’s Chris Doak also finished at 6 under but lost in a playoff.
England’s Warren Bennett qualified at Hillside Golf Club with rounds of 68-68 for an 8-under 136, one shot behind countryman Dale Whitnell (68-67), a 2009 Walker Cup player. Bennett won the silver medal as leading amateur in the 1994 Open at Turnberry. England's Steven Tiley (69-69) took the third spot at 6 under.
Notables to miss out at Hillside included 1993 European Ryder Cup player Peter Baker (72-71), two-time Walker Cup player Lloyd Saltman (73-70) and Australian Bryden Macpherson (73-73), who won last year's British Amateur Championship at Hillside.