The Open 2017: Debutant Dean defies tough conditions to make it through

Hillsborough's Joe Dean pictured on his way to a second 72 in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).
Hillsborough's Joe Dean pictured on his way to a second 72 in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire).
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HILLSBOROUGH’S Joe Dean added a second consecutive 72 on a day of high winds and high scores to make the cut on his Open Championship bow at Royal Birkdale.

The former English men’s amateur champion progressed in the company of Sheffield duo Matt Fitzpatrick and Danny Willett.

But Dean’s fellow debutant Nick McCarthy, of Moortown, could only add a 77 to his opening 74 and will spend the remainder of the Open as a spectator.

Dean birdied the fourth after a steady start of three consecutive pars, but gave the shot back two holes later.

Five consecutive pars were followed by a bogey at 12 and a birdie at 14.

Three holes from home he was tied for 24th place before his late stumbles at 16 and 17.

But it should not detract from a tremendous performance and having hit his initial target of making the cut he can look to enjoy the weekend as he attempts to move up the leader board in the final two rounds from his current position of tied 45th.

Fitzpatrick, who added a 73 to his one-under-par 69 on Thursday, got off to a great start by birdieing the first, but then dropped four shots in three holes from the sixth, a double bogey at the seventh coming after he three-putted from five feet.

A further shot was shed at the 10th, but he sandwiched a fourth bogey of the round at 16 with birdies at 12 and 17.

Willett’s birdie at the last got him through to the weekend after a triple bogey eight at the 17th appeared to have sent him spiralling towards the exit.

After three bogeys and one birdie he was two over for the day through 16 before calamity struck at the par-5 17th. but the 2016 Masters champion showed what major winners are made of by retrieving a shot at the last to tack on a 74 to a 71.

Instead of spending his weekend playing alongside the world’s elite, 29-year-old McCarthy – like Dean making his Open debut having come through Final Qualifying – plans to watch them, at least on the range.

“I’m staying and going to enjoy it while I’ve got these tickets,” he said. “I might as well make the most of it.

“I’d like to go and watch the big boys, but obviously with the size of the crowds it will be a nightmare, so I’ll go and watch the big boys on the practice ground and then look at the start times and pick someone to go round with.”

McCarthy, whose father Dave, a former Yorkshire county player, was on his bag, said: “Obviously I wanted to do a lot better, but it’s just the way it goes.

“I tried everything I could, it just didn’t work out – but I still loved it. It was awesome, absolutely brilliant.”

McCarthy’s only regret is that he left a 20ft putt for birdie at the last just short, and left, of the hole.

“Walking up the 18th with my dad was just awesome,” he said. “With the grandstands and everything, and the clubhouse there...

“I wanted to make that putt for birdie. But I had great support from Moortown – I think the whole membership was there.”