The Open 2017: Welshman Stuart Manley 'living the dream'

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Welsh golfer Stuart Manley on making his Open debut at Royal Birkdale
2017 Open Championship on the BBC
Venue: Royal Birkdale Dates: 20-23 July
Live: Listen to BBC Radio 5 live commentary and follow text updates - including in-play video clips - on BBC Sport website and mobile app. TV highlights on BBC Two. Click for full times.

Welshman Stuart Manley says he is "living the dream" as he prepares for his Major debut at The Open.

Manley finished joint second at the Johannesburg Open in February to earn a place in the tournament at Royal Birkdale from 20-23 July.

"This is my dream job and I'm living it - it's brilliant," said the 38-year-old.

"I've been dreaming about it for years, decades. You try to qualify every year and I've been very close a few times."

The Aberdare golfer admits he will be nervous when he steps onto the first tee on Thursday, with the opening hole considered one of the most demanding of any at The Open's host venues.

"It's one of the things to tick off the bucket list and I can't wait to get going," he told BBC Sport Wales.

"I will be pretty nervous. I've got the shot in my head which I want to play, so I've just go to try and shut everything out and just be committed to the shot.

"It's my first one of my first major so I'll be glad when that's over to be honest."

The world number 520 will tee off in the second group at 06:46 BST and is happy with the early start.

"It's what I wanted. I wanted to get out there really early because normally on links courses the weather is pretty calm early on.

"So yeah, I'm pretty happy with the draw.

"The crowds on the first tee won't be too big which is nice because it's actually a really tough tee shot probably one of the toughest tee shots on the golf course," he added.

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Since securing his Open place in February Manley has made the cut just once in 10 competitions, but is hopeful of leaving his mark at Birkdale.

"I've had a lot of time to think about it and prepare for it, but now the time is here I really can't wait to get going.

"I don't want to set that (making the cut) as a goal because the bar is set a little too low with that as a target.

"Personally it'll be great to play the Sunday and be in the top 20 and get amongst it with the big crowds and the big players and then have a great finish and be exempt next year from it."

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