Jonathan Thomson, Nick Poppleton, Ben Hutchinson and Sam Bairstow book Open Championship spot at final qualifying

FOUR Yorkshire golfers from a field of more than 270 players across four courses yesterday secured their spot at the Open Championship next month through final qualifying.

Nick Poppleton is headed to the Open (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)
Nick Poppleton is headed to the Open (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

There were only 12 places up for grabs in the field for the year’s final major at Royal St George’s in Sandwich on the Kent coast from July 15-18, but Rotherham’s Jonathan Thomson is headed there after finishing second at his new home course of Hollinwell following rounds of 69 and 65 for a 10-under-par total.

Thomson, who played on the European Tour three years ago, finished three shots clear of the chasing pack.

Two Yorkshiremen progressed at St Annes Old Links; Ben Hutchinson of Howley Hall who topped the leaderboard after rounds of 66, 65, and Sheffield amateur Sam Bairstow (Hallowes) who fired rounds of 63, 69 to finish a shot back.

Amateur Ben Hutchinson, pictured playing on the 2020 ProTour Golf final at Huddersfield Golf Club in OCtober, is going to the Open (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Hallamshire’s Alex Fitzpatrick had led the way after an opening 65 but fell away with a closing round of 71.

And Wath’s Nick Poppleton came out on top at West Lancashire after shooting 65, 69.

Hutchinson said: “It feels awesome to be in The Open and I just want to enjoy it. What a day! It’s been a dream of mine to play in The Open. It’s awesome.

“My cousin (Danny Denison) played back in 2006 and I’m very good friends with Marcus Armitage and he’s playing so it will be good to play a practice round with him.

“The more pressure I felt, the better my golf got which was a good feeling. You watch every year and think maybe one year. This is my fifth year in Final Qualifying and I thought maybe one year I would qualify.”

Bairstow said: “I can’t really believe it to be honest. I don’t know what to say. I played The Amateur Championship and had four good weeks up in Scotland playing a lot of links golf. To come back to a links course today feels like second nature.

“It’s going to be amazing to be in The Open at Royal St George’s. I just want to enjoy the experience and whatever happens, happens. The Open is my favourite major so to play in it will be an absolute honour. This is definitely at the top of my career so far. It’s been a great day.

“Nick Poppleton and I see the same coach. We played quite a bit together three or four years ago so I know him well. I’m sure we might have a practice round together!”

Poppleton added: “I don’t think it’s sunk in. It’s going to be an experience. This will be my debut in The Open, I’ve never even been to The Open or any big professional event as a spectator.

“I am really excited. It was so nice to get it over the line, I was really nervous on the last few holes even though I was about six shots clear at some point.

“I’ve been to Royal St George’s before, I played there as an amateur, so I know the course well. But I am sure it will be very different for The Open, to how I remember it.”

Thomson said: “I’m absolutely delighted, I’m over the moon. I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet but I’m sure it will tonight.

“It’s been a great day, we’ve had great weather and the golf course has been in phenomenal condition. I had a little bit of home advantage and it’s been one to remember.

“I was playing good golf and trying to stay really patient. I started rolling some putts in and here we are!

“I’ve never played the golf course [Royal St George’s] so it will be a new one for me, a new challenge. It’s all great experience and I’m absolutely buzzing.

“I’ve been to The Open a few times with my dad as a spectator and always watch it on TV. It’s been a childhood dream to step on the first tee of a major so it’s one hell of a day to remember.”