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Dozen qualify for Open at final qualification

Austrian Markus Brier and British brothers Lloyd and Elliot Saltman were among 12 players who earned places at next week’s British Open in local final qualifying on Tuesday.

Also going through were Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed, Australian Daniel Gaunt, Irishman David Higgins, South African Thomas Aiken and former Ryder Cup player Peter Baker of Britain.

But there was disappointment for twice U.S. Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain who failed to advance at Kilmarnock Barassie, one of three venues in Scotland staging the qualifiers.

Brier, a double winner on the European Tour, followed a course-record 64 with a seven-under-par 66 to lead the field by a staggering six strokes at Barassie.

Two days after celebrating his 41st birthday, the Vienna native was able to toast his fifth appearance in the world’s oldest major championship.

“I’m really looking forward to it because I love links golf,” a beaming Brier told reporters after piling up 17 birdies and just one bogey in 36 holes. “The Open is the biggest tournament we have.”

The Saltman siblings became the first brothers to qualify for the British Open since Spaniards Seve and Manuel Ballesteros 26 years ago.

Olazabal, who also failed to qualify for last year’s British Open at Royal Birkdale, missed out by seven shots after carding 70 and 73 at Barassie.

The 138th British Open will be played at Turnberry in Scotland from July 16-19.


July 8, 2009

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