Open blow for Montgomerie

The 52-year-old Scot, back in Britain just two days after finishing runner-up at the US Senior Open in California, fell four strokes short in a field that also included Retief Goosen.

Montgomerie’s chances of returning to the Old Course where he finished second to Tiger Woods in 2005, are now dependent on a strong showing at next week’s Scottish Open at Gullane.

Double US Open winner Goosen did survive a play-off to secure a place at the season’s next major, but the stand-out performance on the Marquess course came from Irish amateur Paul Dunne.

Repeating his success of last season, the 22-year-old from Greystone shot rounds of 70 and 65 to win the event by three strokes with a nine-under-par total of 135.

Dunne said: “I guess I love this place. Last year was a bit more of a shock because I had no expectations. This time I knew I could shoot the scores and that put more pressure on me.

“I’m delighted. It’s not really sunk it yet, but going to St Andrews will be ultra-special – probably the biggest week of my life.”

The other player to qualify at Woburn was England’s Robert Dinwiddie, who finished second on his own at six-under and will finally make his Open debut after 16 attempts.

Goosen, who finished fourth at the BMW International Open in Germany at the weekend, took the third spot at the first extra hole after finishing level on five under with English pair Adam Gee and Jamie Moul.

Reflecting on his disappointment, Montgomerie said: “When there are only three??spots and 72 players you have to putt well and I putted like an idiot.”

Dunne was not the only amateur to enjoy success as final qualifying was held at??four courses around Britain.

At Royal Cinque Ports in Kent, England’s Alister Balcombe and Ben Taylor shared??top spot with professional Gary Boyd, while 20-year-old Liverpudlian Paul??Kinnear came through at Gailes in Scotland and American Jordan Niebrugge at??Hillside in Southport.

Kinnear was in tears after joining professionals Mark Young and New Zealander??Ryan Fox, whose father Grant played for the All Blacks, while Niebrugge tied for??first place with Australian Scott Arnold and Swede Pelle Edberg.

Balcombe, a 19-year-old from Bristol with a plus-three handicap, followed up??his opening 67 with a 70 to finish on five under and said: “I was in the??clubhouse at Clevedon just before the regional qualifier and saw a picture of??the 18th at St Andrews.

“I thought how great it would be to be a part of that. I’ve never played the??Old Course, so I’m looking forward to the experience.”

Taylor, 23 and a plus-five handicapper from Walton Heath, has just finished his??studies at Louisiana State University and birdied three of his last seven holes??for a 67, while Boyd matched Balcombe’s two rounds.

It will be his third trip to the Open. He missed the cut on his debut in 2008??and finished tied 38th in 2011 at Royal St George’s.

Boyd is attached to Woburn, but with that venue oversubscribed he was drawn to??play at Deal.

Among those who missed out there were former Ryder Cup player Paul Broadhurst -??who in the 1990 Open at St Andrews shot a major record-equalling 63 – and Scot??Raymond Russell, joint fourth with amateur Justin Rose at Royal Birkdale in??1998.