Southport - Ian Poulter earned his way back to Royal
Birkdale and the footprints he left behind a decade ago at the British Open.
Poulter shot rounds of 70-68 at Woburn Golf Club, his home
club and one of five final qualifying sites on Tuesday. He earned one of three
spots available from each of the sites.
"Job done today," Poulter tweeted.
Shiv Kapur of India shot a 65 in the second round and was
the medallist at Woburn to return to the British Open for the first time since
2013. The third spot went to Toby Tree, who along with Poulter finished two
shots behind Kapur.
Poulter had his best major at Royal Birkdale in 2008 when he
was runner-up to Padraig Harrington. He holed a 15-foot par putt on the final
hole that he thought might be enough to get into a playoff until Harrington
pulled away with a strong finish marked by a 5-wood to 4 feet for eagle on the
17th hole. Harrington won by four shots.
Poulter left his own indelible mark at Royal Birkdale. He
worked so hard on his putting that week that he stood for hours in the same
spot on the putting green on the eve of the championship, so long that it
killed the grass beneath his shoes and a brown shade of footprints was left
The British Open is July 20-23.
In other qualifiers:
- Connor Syme, an amateur from Scotland, had rounds of 71-67
at Gailes Links in Scotland to lead three qualifiers. Julian Suri, a two-time
state high school champion in Florida who played at Duke, earned his first trip
to the Open. The other qualifier was Ryan McCarthy of Australia, who advanced
from a 4-for-1 playoff.
- At Hillside, the neighbouring links to Royal Birkdale,
three Englishmen advanced to the Open. Haydn McCullen shot a 64 in the second
round and was the medallist, joined by Nicholas McCarthy and Adam Hodkinson.
- Mark Foster, whose last victory was the Dunhill
Championship in South Africa at the start of 2003, was the medallist at Notts
Honninwell with rounds of 68-66. Also advancing were Joe Dean and Laurie
Canter, who won a 3-for-1 playoff.
- Cancer survivor Matthew Southgate made it back to the Open
for the second time in three years. He was the medallist at Royal Cinque Port.
Robert Dinwiddie qualified for the second straight year. They were joined by
Austin Connelly of Canada, who earned the last spot in a 4-for-1 playoff.
That puts the field at 145 players, leaving 11 spots being
offered to top finishers in the next two PGA Tour (Greenbrier Classic, John
Deere Classic) and European Tour (Irish Open, Scottish Open) events.