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Ian Woosnam makes it through Open Qualifying

European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam booked his place at next month's British Open after a year's absence in the European leg of international qualifying at Sunningdale Golf Club on Monday.

The 47-year-old Briton, who failed to qualify for last year's championship at Royal Troon, fired a two-under-par 68 on Sunningdale's Old Course in the afternoon to join 12 other qualifiers in the field for the year's third major.

Also going through were compatriots Peter Baker, Andrew Oldcorn, Alastair Forsyth, Simon Dyson, John Bickerton, Simon Khan, Robert Coles, Andrew Butterfield and Robert Rock, Irishman Peter Lawrie, Australia's Marcus Fraser and Swede Patrick Sjoland.

Five players -- Sweden's Henrik Stenson, Frenchman Jean-Francois Lucquin and Britons Kenneth Ferrie, David Geall and Tom Whitehouse -- will play off for the remaining Open spot on Tuesday morning.

The sudden-death playoff will start at Sunningdale Golf Club from 0800 local (0700 GMT).

Among the big names to miss out were twice U.S. Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal, after scores of 69 and 70, and emerging British talent Nick Dougherty, after a 73 and a 67.

Woosnam, who will make his 23rd Open appearance at St Andrews from July 14-17, was relieved to qualify after a long day in bright sunshine at Sunningdale.

"I struggled a bit towards the end there," the 1991 U.S. Masters champion told reporters after launching his qualifying bid with a 66 in the morning. "It's been a long day.

"I didn't hole anything this afternoon but I putted really well. The greens were a bit too slow for me. I left several putts short that were bang on line.

"I'm really looking forward to the Open," added the Welshman. "You don't have to be super-long around St Andrews."

Irishman Lawrie was in upbeat mood after qualifying for his first British Open.

"I've played the Dunhill at St Andrews and I'm really, really looking forward to playing in the Open championship," he said.

"I played lovely today," he added, after returning scores of 65 and 67. "I got off to a nice start this afternoon with a birdie-birdie start, wobbled a bit after that but pulled up my socks and played nicely coming in."

Spaniard Olazabal, Masters champion in 1994 and 1999, conceded he had simply not played well enough after missing out on the playoff for the final Open spot by three strokes.

"I had a bit of fun playing the last three or four holes but it hurts when you don't play in the Open, especially if it's played at St Andrews," he said.

"But I didn't play last year. I have to keep trying. At the end of the day, if you play good enough, you're in."

One hundred and four players are already exempt for the 134th British Open at St Andrews, where American Todd Hamilton will defend the title he won last year in a playoff with Ernie Els.

 

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