The Open 2011: The English competitors

The 140th Open Championship

Venue:
Royal St George's, Sandwich, Kent
Dates:
14-17 July
Coverage:
Live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, online (UK only) and Radio 5 live; text commentary on BBC Sport website (#bbcgolf) and mobiles; watch again on iPlayer
Luke Donald
World number one Luke Donald won the Scottish Open on Sunday

There will be 26 English players in the 156-strong field in Kent this week to contest the 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's.

BBC Sport's Ged Scott outlines the home contenders at Sandwich, including world numbers one and two Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, who are both looking to become the first English winner of an Open in England since Tony Jacklin at Royal Lytham & St Annes in 1969.

GARY BOYD

Age: 24
Born: Banbury, Oxfordshire
Lives: Middleton Cheney, Northants
World ranking: 173
Qualified: IFQ-EUROPE (Sunningdale)
Open record (1): 2008 missed cut

Rounds of 65 and 66 at Sunningdale were enough to get through international final qualifying in third place on eight under.

A keen Manchester United fan, who comes from the same management stable as his Arsenal-supporting pal Ian Poulter, with whom he shares similar tastes in fashion.

Boyd told BBC Look East: "I struggled with the draw I had in 2008 but I'm looking forward to playing in an Open again. The four majors are what all golfers try to peak for.

"You're playing against the best players in the world and it's more a mental challenge than a physical one. When they call your name out on the first tee it's very nerve-racking But I'll be going there trying to win."

PAUL CASEY

Age: 33
Born: Cheltenham
Lives: Surrey/Arizona
World ranking: 14
Qualified: Exempt
Open record (9): 2002 missed cut, 2003 missed cut, 2004 T20, 2005 missed cut, 2006 71, 2007 T27, 2008 T7, 2009 T47, 2010 T3
Paul Casey
Casey is the world's number 14 golfer

Enjoyed his best Open finish at St Andrews, tied for third - his second top-10 finish in three years.

But the three-times Ryder Cup player then suffered a disappointing end to 2010 when he was left out of Colin Montgomerie's victorious European team at Celtic Manor.

Casey said: "Royal St George's is a tough course but I'm going into it determined to do well.

"I used to love playing there when I was a kid, the fairways are very difficult to hit so tee shots are very important.

"It doesn't get any bigger than Open week and winning would mean everything, I'm not sure I'm able to properly explain how much it would mean. Of all the majors it's the one I'd love to win the most."

LEE CORFIELD

Age: 28
Based: Burnham & Berrow
Lives: Wrington, Somerset
Qualified: LFQ (Littlestone)
Open Record: First Open

Rounds of 70/69 in local final qualifying at Littlestone helped him into a five-man play-off and he kept his nerve to book one of the two slots up for grabs.

In his sixth year as a professional and will have Burnham member David Gregory, a Somerset county player, on his bag.

Corfield told BBC Sport: "This is what you put in the hard hours on the range for. My wife Gemma convinced me to try and qualify again when I was going to skip it and play in three other events instead.

"She said she'd got a feeling and I'm glad she did. She's on maternity leave, having had our young son, and she's here to watch me with the little 'un."

BRIAN DAVIS

Age: 36
Based: London
Lives: Orlando
World ranking: 90
Qualified: IFQ-AMERICA

Based in the States since becoming the first Englishman to win US Tour School in 2004.

Shot a 64 at Gleneagles, Texas to win a rain-reduced US final quallfying by a shot in what turned out to be an 18-hole event.

Five times a runner-up on the US PGA tour, he enjoyed his best Open finish here in 2003 when he finished sixth. Married to former England keeper Ray Clemence's daughter Julie.

LUKE DONALD

Age: 33
Born: Hemel Hempstead, Herts
Club: Beaconsfield
Lives: High Wycombe/Chicago
World ranking: 1
Qualified: Exempt
Open record (10): 1999 missed cut (A), 2000 missed cut (A), 2002 missed cut, 2003 missed cut, 2004 missed cut, 2005 T52, 2006 T35, 2007 T63, 2009 T5, 2010 T11

The latest Englishman to become world number one, when he beat Lee Westwood to win the PGA at Wentworth in May.

Donald has had five top-10 finishes in majors but his tie for fourth at the Masters in April was arguably his best performance.

A tie for fifth after a final round 67 at Turnberry was his best at an Open.

Donald said: "European golf, and English golf is very strong right now, with Lee and myself heading the world rankings. We've both been having a good year and there's a bunch of other guys that probably haven't played as well as us that have the potential to win. I guess now is as good a time as any."

SIMON DYSON

Age: 33
Born: York
Lives: Bowden, Cheshire
World ranking: 74
Qualified: Exempt
Open record (7): 2000 missed cut, 2001 missed cut, 2004 missed cut, 2005 T34, 2006 T48, 2008 missed cut, 2010 T48

Grandfather was a jockey, father is a bookie. He was on York City's books as a youngster and his uncle Terry played a key part in Tottenham Hotspur's famous double-winning side of 1961.

Currently lies 24th in the Race to Dubai and has enjoyed four wins on the European Tour.

Dyson told BBC Sport: "The wind's the main thing. At Castle Stuart last week it was changing every hour. If you get the right wind, then there'll be a decent score.

"The wrong wind and it will play very tough. It's good that they've not set up the rough too severe. We don't want another Carnoustie."

SIMON EDWARDS

Age: 39
Born: Wrexham
Attached: Windermere
Qualified: LFQ (Prince's)
Open record (1): 2010 156

Carded rounds of 79 and 86 at St Andrews on his Open debut 12 months ago to finish in last place.

But the Welsh-born Windermere professional has proved undaunted by that experience, shooting 68 and 69 to win local final qualifying at Prince's last week on seven-under-par and book his return.

Edwards told BBC Sport: "It's the greatest golf tournament in the world and, for a club pro from Windermere, I feel so privileged just to be here.

"I still enjoyed the experience last year, even though I came out on the wrong side of the draw weather-wise. I will just be more relaxed this time.

"I tried to qualify again more in hope than expectation. We had Michael Campbell, a US Open champion, on the same course. That's how tough it is but here I am back again."

KENNETH FERRIE

Age: 32
Born: Ashington
Lives: Newcastle
Qualified: IFQ-EUROPE (Sunningdale)
Open record (4): 2003 missed cut, 2004 T42, 2005 missed cut, 2006 retired

Shot a second-round 64 in international final qualifying to book his return to the Open after a five-year absence.

Career peaked in 2005 with 11th place in the Order of Merit, followed by his US Open heroics the following year at Winged Foot when, after heading the leaderboard going into the final round, he eventually finished sixth behind Geoff Ogilvy.

Ferrie told BBC Sport: "The atmosphere is fantastic and it's great to be back here. I've not played in the Open since Hoylake in 2006 and this was my first Open here in 2003.

"As far as the weather is concerned, the tougher the weather the better for me. I keep the ball in play quite well."

ROSS FISHER

Age: 30
Born: Ascot
Lives: Cheam
World ranking: 56
Qualified: Exempt
Open record (4): 2007 missed cut, 2008 T39, 2009 T13, 2010 T37
Ross Fisher won the 2010 Irish Open
Ross Fisher won the 2010 Irish Open

Best remembered for his Open experience at Turnberry in 2009.

Fisher began the last day in the final pairing, with his expectant wife back home in Surrey well overdue to deliver their first child.

Eventually finished tied for 13th in Ayrshire - one of three consecutive top-50 Open finishes.

CRAIG HINTON (A)

Age: 22
Born: Ashford, Middlesex
Based: Oxfordshire
Lives: Thame
Qualified: LFQ (Royal Cinque Ports)
Open record: First Open

Has overcome major health problems to play in his first Open. In 2009, he endured temporary blindness while travelling in Spain with the England amateur team.

He then spent a week in intensive care earlier this year with myopericarditis, an inflammation of the heart.

Made light of all that to shoot 69/70 to win local final qualifying at Royal Cinque Ports by a shot.

Hinton told BBC Sport: "The amateur season is about playing links golf, year in, year out, so I'm used to courses like this.

"My mum was literally in tears when I told her I'd qualified. I've had my problems to overcome. Losing my eyesight, even for 20 minutes, in Jerez, was scary.

"I've had a massive illness this year which was a real downer to get over but I'm back playing again and can't wait to get started."

ANDREW JOHNSTON

Age: 22
Born: London
Lives: North London
Based: North Middlesex
Qualified: LFQ (Royal Cinque Ports)
Open record: First Open

Shot a first-round 66 to jointly lead local final qualifying at Royal Cinque Ports. Fell back with a second day 74 but it got him into a four-man play-off and he earned one of the two places.

Began playing golf at the age of nine at North Middlesex, where he is now the touring pro.

Johnston told BBC Sport: "I'm always going to try and qualify for the Open until I don't have to. It's a special place to be.

"I've got lots of members and friends from north Middlesex coming down to watch me.

"I played a practice round with Tom Watson. He was a lovely guy and I had great fun."

SIMON KHAN

Age: 39
Born: Epping
Lives: Epping
World ranking: 177
Qualified: Exempt (2010 PGA champion)
Open record (5): 2000 missed cut, 2005 T41, 2006 T31, 2008 T39, 2010 T55

In form after a fifth-place finish in France a fortnight ago. Gave his career a new lease of life when, on a sponsors' invite, he won the PGA at Wentworth last year.

Inspired to take up the game as a 12-year-old after watching the late Seve Ballesteros win The Open at St Andrews in 1984

Khan told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I'm always excited about the Open and being down here makes it a local Open for me.

"It's only a couple of hours drive away from where I live in Essex, so I've managed to get down here a couple times before this week, which has been good."

MARK LASKEY

Age: 26
Born: Welwyn Garden City
Based: The Shire, Barnet
Lives: Welwyn Garden City
Qualified: LFQ (Rye)
Open record: First Open

After firing rounds of 65 and 68 at Rye, had to come through a two-man play-off with Dutchman Inder Van Weerelt to book the last of the three places.

Laskey told BBC Sport: "There's only three spots now from each qualifying course, which makes it really tough just to get here but I played some great golf to qualify and am feeling high.

"On my day I'm good enough to beat anyone."

TOM LEWIS (A)

Age: 20
Born: Welwyn Garden City
Based: Welwyn Garden City
Qualified: LFQ (Rye)
Open record: First Open

Named after Tom Watson, he now finds himself paired with the great man, and Henrik Stenson, over the first two days - and on a course where he was won before, the British Boys' Championship two years ago.

Shot rounds of 63 and 65 to finish three shots clear of the field in local final qualifying at Rye.

Lewis told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I won the British Boys' Championship here in 2009 and it suits me.

"I've played more links than anyone else this year, played well and I've got no excuses.

"If I can play well this week, I can compete. If I don't then I'll be going home on Saturday."

SIMON LILLY

Age: 34
Born: Corby
Lives: Kettering
Based: Wellingborough
Qualified: LFQ (Royal Cinque Ports)
Open record: First Open

Fired two consecutive two-under-par 70s at local final qualifying at Royal Cinque Ports. That got him into a four-man play-off and he earned one of the two places.

Has had 10 separate attempts to earn his card at European Tour School without success.

Lilly told BBC Radio Northampton: "Even during the practice round I was a bit nervous. A top-20/top-25 finish would be fantastic. It could change a lot of things in my life.

"There's no point setting a goal to just make the cut. I've got a once in a lifetime chance, I might not be here again so I have got to give it a good shot."

RICHARD McEVOY

Age: 32
Born: Shoeburyness
Lives: Shoeburyness
Qualified: IFQ-EUROPE (Sunningdale)
Open record: First Open

After 10 previous failures to qualify, finally booked his Open debut by following a first-round 64 to hang on to qualify by a shot with a second-round 68 at international final qualifying at Sunningdale.

Earned this year's tour card by finishing 101st in the 2010 Race to Dubai - his best finish to date.

McEvoy told BBC Essex: "For an Open the course is very fair. The rough isn't as thick as it normally is. It just depends on the weather.

"It's a new experience for me. You want to be playing in front of the crowds and it's a good opportunity for me. There's always someone who comes out of the pack who surprises at an Open."

FRANCIS MCGURK

Age: 37
Born: Sutton, Surrey
Based: Prince's
Lives: Sandwich
Qualified: LFQ (Prince's)
Open record: First Open

Shot rounds of 68 and 71 round Prince's, his home course. A last-hole eagle earning him qualification by a shot on five under.

Turned pro in 1999, the one true local contender, who lives in Sandwich Bay, is the son of the owner of Prince's.

McGuirk told BBC Radio Kent: "If you don't get excited by this, you don't get excited about anything.

"This is by far the greatest achievement I have had in my career. As a young lad, you always want to play at the Open and I just hope I can enjoy it the best I can.

"If I can make the cut that would be wonderful."

IAN POULTER

Age: 35
Born: Hitchin
Attached: Woburn
Lives: Milton Keynes/Orlando
World ranking: 16
Qualified: Exempt
Open record (10): 2000 T64, 2002 T50, 2003 T46, 2004 T25, 2005 T11, 2006 missed cut, 2007 T27, 2008 2, 2009 missed cut, 2010 T60

Looked set to claim his first major at Royal Birkdale in 2008 but got overtaken by a stunning finish from defending champion Padraig Harrington, who eventually beat him into second by four shots.

The notoriously fancily-dressed Arsenal fan has not featured strongly in the two Open Championships since.

Poulter said: "The Open is the one. It is for all the British guys. I had a little taste of what it must feel like when I holed that putt on the last green at Birkdale.

"I thought it might get me into a play-off but, in the event, Padraig finished like a train. It's moments like that which you play for. The moments you imagined as a kid."

ROBERT ROCK

Age: 34
Born: Rugeley
Attached: The Belfry
Lives: Western, Staffs
World ranking: 107
Qualified: Exempt (top-10 finish in 2010)
Open record (4): 2005 T67, 2006 T16, 2009 missed cut, 2010 T7
Robert Rock
Rock won his first European Tour title with victory at the Italian Open in June

After expecting to miss the cut, scraped into the weekend to set up his first top-10 Open finish thanks to a final round 69.

Enjoyed his first Tour victory in the Italian Open last month after three previous runners-up slots, and made a colourful first trip to the US Open at Congressional when visa problems delayed his arrival and left him playing the course blind and jetlagged.

JUSTIN ROSE

Age: 30
Born: Johannesburg
Club: Hartley Whitney, Hampshire
Lives: London/Orlando
World ranking: 31
Qualfied: Exempt
Open record: 1998 T4 (A), 1999 missed cut, 2001 T30, 2002 T22, 2003 missed cut, 2007 T12, 2008 T70, 2009 T13, 2010 missed cut

Still best remembered for his approach shot to 18 in 1998 when, as an amateur, he finished tied for fourth behind Mark O'Meara.

He has had just two top five finishes at majors since - and that week at Royal Birkdale remains his best performance at at an Open Championship.

Rose said: "There are more blind shots than most good golf courses have and some quirky bumps and hollows.

"This year it's slightly wider off the tee, slightly less rough, which makes it a little more playable but everyone is going to have bad breaks out there.

"The guy who is most patient and accepts it the best is going to have a good chance, provided he's playing half decent."

THOMAS SHADBOLT

Age: 23
Born: Welwyn Garden City
Based: Brocket Hall
Lives: Harpenden
Qualified: LFQ (Prince's)
Open record: First Open

Led the field by two shots after a first day six-under 66 at Prince's before tumbling to a 73 the following morning, but that was still enough to earn him qualification for his first Open by a solitary shot.

Only turned pro eight months ago, one of three players from Welwyn Garden City, Nick Faldo's home town, in the field.

Shadbolt told BBC Sport: "If I play as well as I did last week in qualifying then the sky's the limit. I played the English Amateur here four years ago when the rough was thicker and the fairways narrower and I feel at home.

"The crowds won't be around me but I hope they will be by Saturday and Sunday."

ANDY SMITH

Age: 26
Born: Maidstone
Attached: Tudor Park
Lives: Maidstone
Qualified: LFQ (Littlestone)
Open record: First Open

Compiled rounds of 70/68 to win local final qualifying at Littlestone by a shot.

Based at the Tudor Park club in Maidstone, has had two failed attempts at qualifying before. Hardly played last year after having to undergo an operation for a twisted bowel.

Smith said: "I only entered Open qualifying as the events were in Kent. I haven't got much money at the moment.

"I have been doing all sorts of part-time jobs to keep going. labouring, landscape gardening and a bit of work as a carpenter's mate. I really cannot believe this has happened to me.

"Anything could happen. I'm 1000/1. But I've just had some new clubs made for me and I've never felt this confident about my golf game before."

GRAEME STORM

Age: 33
Born: Hartlepool
Lives: Hartlepool
Qualified: IFQ-EUROPE (Sunningdale)
Open record (5): 1999 missed cut, 2005 T78, 2007 missed cut, 2008 T39, 2009 T52

Fired rounds of 65 and 62 to win international final qualifying on 12 under at Sunningdale last month.

Currently standing 79th in the Race to Dubai, the consistent tour regular, who once supplemented his income working in a cake factory early in his career, has not dropped out of Europe's Top 100 in seven years.

Storm said: "I'm out in the second group at 6.41, which is a very sharp start but hopefully the conditions will suit me.

"It's more likely to be a bit calmer at that time of the morning. Being the dad of a young daughter having to be up early is not unusual. But having to wake up at 4am is a bit different isn't it?"

LEE WESTWOOD

Age: 38
Born: Worksop
Lives: Worksop
World ranking: 2
Qualified: Exempt
Open record (16): 1995 T93, 1996 missed cut, 1997 T10, 1998 T62, 1999 T13, 2000 T64, 2001 T47, 2002 missed cut, 2003 missed cut, 2004 4, 2005 missed cut, 2006 T31, 2007 T35, 2008 T67, 2009 T3, 2010 2

Five top three finishes at majors in the past three years, but still no big prize.

Lee Westwood
Westwood is looking for his first Major win

Third in the Open in 2009, second last year, has the patience, and the game to go that one better - and, if he does become the first English-born golfer to win the Open in England since Sandy Lyle here in 1985, there would be no more popular winner.

Westwood said: "Hopefully it's a mathematical progression for me, third, second and I'm obviously hoping for first.

"It's named after St George, so you can't get much more English than that. It's being played in England, which only hapoens every now and again and it would mean everything to win this championship."

DANNY WILLETT

Age: 23
Born: Sheffield
Lives: Sheffield
World ranking: 121
Qualified: Exempt (Tour top 25)
Open record: First Open

After an impressive first two years on the European Tour, finishing 58th in 2009 and then 23rd last year, he has fallen to 84th in this year's Race to Dubai.

His 2010 form earns the former English amateur champion, the son of a Sheffield clergyman, his first Open start.

Willett told BBC Sport: "I've tried for a few years and it's great to finally get here. I won the English Amateur here in 2007, but I reckon the weather might be a bit more of a factor this week than it was then.

"I've got my mum and dad coming down, my best mate's caddying for me and there a few coming down from the club but how many will be out at 6.30 I'm not sure."

ADAM WOOTTON

Age: 23
Based: Oxford Golf Centre
Lives: Oxford
Qualified: LFQ (Rye)
Open record: First Open

Jointly led local final qualifying at Rye after a five-under first day 63, shooting level par the next day to ensure his Open debut by two clear shots.

Started playing at the age of 12, is now assistant pro at the Oxford Golf Centre.

Wootton told BBC Sport: "It's great to be playing with a former Open champion like Tom Lehman on Thursday.

"I've practised hard for the last month or so and had a putting session with my coach which has transformed me on the green. I feel confident in my game now I'm holing putts and I'm swinging it well."

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