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East Lancs golfer just 36 holes away from making The Open return

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Mark Young, pictured at the Open in 2015, is two rounds away from playing again at the Home of Golf
Mark Young, pictured at the Open in 2015, is two rounds away from playing again at the Home of Golf

ONE East Lancashire golfer is 36 holes away from a spot at The Open Championship at St Andrews next month after passing through Regional Qualifying.

Mark Young, a professional attached to Longridge Golf Club, secured one of 10 qualifying spots on Monday at Fairhaven Golf Club in Lytham with a round of 71 to finish one-under par.

He and 141 other players triumphed from a field of more than 1,800 golfers competing across the British Isles to earn a place at Final Qualifying, which takes place on June 28.

The top 16 players at Finals will earn a spot in the field at the 150th Open, being held at the Home of Golf, the Old Course at St Andrews from July 14 to 17.

He could be rubbing shoulders with the newly crowned US Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, world number one and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, and PGA champion Justin Thomas in competing for the fourth and final major of 2022.

Lancashire Telegraph: Mark Young is two round away from playing for the Claret Jug. Pic: PA
Lancashire Telegraph: Mark Young is two round away from playing for the Claret Jug. Pic: PA

Mark Young is two round away from playing for the Claret Jug. Pic: PA

Other legends such as Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and defending Open Champion Collin Morikawa are also set to take to the old links in Fife to compete for the Claret Jug and be crowned Champion Golfer of the Year.

Mark Young will compete at Fairmont St Andrews, just four miles down the road from The Open’s venue, which is one of four courses in Final Qualifying along with St Anne’s Old Links in Lancashire, Prince’s in Kent, and Hollinwell in Nottinghamshire.

The top four from each course will win a spot in the Open, one more from each than normal.

Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, said: “We have flexibility to increase the number of places available at Final Qualifying and have determined that we can offer four at each event this year.

“We already know that there is a strong motivation among golfers to secure a place in the field for The 150th Open at St Andrews and so with more places now on offer for this historic Championship, we are looking forward to watching players compete in four exciting events next week.”

Lancashire Telegraph: 2021 Open Champion Collin Morikawa. Pic: PA
Lancashire Telegraph: 2021 Open Champion Collin Morikawa. Pic: PA

2021 Open Champion Collin Morikawa. Pic: PA

Mark Young tees off in his first round at 8.15am, and his second round begins at 2pm, as he aims to reach The Open having previously qualified in 2015, when he made his debut at St Andrews.

East Lancashire’s other representatives unfortunately didn’t make the cut in 2022, and will have to try again in 2023 when The Open goes to Royal Liverpool.

At Alwoodley Golf Club in Leeds, Accrington’s Sam Reeves didn’t post a result in his round; the best score on the day was two-under in tough conditions at the course.

At Fairhaven, Blackburn’s Jordan Brown and Longridge’s Simon Lucas finished with a share of 28th place, shooting four-over par, while Turton amateur Gordan Watson finished tied 89th with a score of 10-over and Rossendale amateur Harry Lord posted a 12-over round to finish tied 93rd.

Famous names aiming to get into the Open via final qualifying include:

  • Jamie Donaldson (St Anne’s Old Links) – who hit the winning shot for Europe in the 2014 Ryder Cup

  • Oliver Fisher (St Anne’s) – the first player to shoot 59 on the DP World Tour

  • Marcus Armitage (St Anne’s) – nicknamed The Bullet

  • Sandy Lyle (St Anne’s) – former Open and Masters champion

  • George Coetzee (St Anne’s) – 14 professional wins

  • Aaron Rai (Fairmont St Andrews) – top 20 finish in last year’s Open

  • Eddie Pepperell (Fairmont) – four professional wins

  • Alex Noren (Fairmont) – 11 wins and part of the 2018 winning Ryder Cup team

  • Charl Schwartzel (Fairmont) – former Masters champion and winner of inaugural LIV Golf event

  • Andy Sullivan (Hollinwell) – four professional wins

  • Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Prince’s) – seven professional wins

  • Branden Grace (Prince’s) – 14 pro wins and has top-ten finishes in three out of four of the majors

  • Ross Fisher (Prince’s) – five pro wins and part of winning 2010 Ryder Cup team

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