Hanson clinches Open debut as Marsh narrowly misses out

Woodsome Hall professional Chris Hanson is to play in the Open for the first time in his career after coming through final qualifying at Hillside.

Hanson, 28, prevailed in a four-man play-off for the three places on offer at Royal Liverpool later this month.

It was Huddersfield amateur Nick Marsh who was the golfer left heartbroken after missing out in the play-off.

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The two posted a six-under-par total of 138 to finish tied first with Oscar Floren and John Singleton from a field of 70 golfers.

There were just 12 players to seal an Open spot out of 270 across four sites at final qualifying.

Hanson is currently 67th on the Challenge Tour, the subsidiary circuit to the European Tour, in his third season on the continent.

Among those to miss out on progression were Yorkshire amateurs Daniel Wasteney and Joe Dean (Lindrick), and professionals James Hepworth, of Ilkley, and Richard Finch, of Hull.

European Tour players Simon Dyson, John Parry and Matt Fitzpatrick all failed to qualify, but can still join Hanson at Hoylake with places available for non-exempt players at this week’s French Open and next week’s final qualifying event, the Scottish Open.

Dyson and Parry play both those events while Fitzpatrick only plays this week in Paris.

Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell will have to create a piece of personal history to retain the Alstom Open de France title at Le Golf National.

McDowell has never successfully defended a tournament and all nine of his European Tour victories have come in different countries, namely Sweden, Italy, Korea, Scotland, Wales, the United States, Spain, Bulgaria and France.

The 34-year-old was disappointed not to add Ireland to that list after going into the final round of the Irish Open last month just two shots off the lead, although his share of sixth place was his best finish in 13 appearances in the event.

“It was really from the US Open onwards that I really felt like my game was ticking along nicely,” said McDowell. “I was inevitably a little bit disappointed with my performance on the weekend (in Ireland), on the greens especially, but I took the positives away from the week. I hit the ball as well as I have this season tee-to-green and put myself in a position to win.

“Being the defending champion gives you a nice little buzz.”