Open 2015: Lancashire's Mark Young leads St Andrews qualifiers

St Andrews
The Open Championship will be staged at the famous Old Course at St Andrews for the 29th time.

Former conservatory fitter Mark Young, from Lancashire, has earned a himself a place at the 144th Open Championship after coming through final qualifying.

Young, who only turned professional in November, will make his Open debut alongside fellow Englishmen Ben Taylor, Paul Kinnear and Alister Balcombe.

County Durham-based Scotsman Robert Dinwiddie and Irishman Paul Dunne are also in the field for the Old Course.

Northamptonshire-based professional Gary Boyd will play in his third Open.

South African Retief Goosen, the twice former US Open champion, came through in a play-off, while there are four other overseas players to book their place at the home of golf.

American Jordan Niebrugge, Australia's Scott Arnold and Swede Pelle Edberg all tied for first place at Hillside, while New Zealand's Ryan Fox qualified alongside 20-year-old Liverpudlian Kinnear after a play-off at Gailes Links.

The 12 to come through Final Qualifying
Royal Cinque Ports - Alister Balcombe (Bristol), Ben Taylor (Surrey), Gary Boyd (Northants)Gailes Links - Mark Young (Lancashire), Paul Kinnear (Liverpool), Ryan Fox (NZ)
Hillside - Jordan Niebrugge (US), Scott Arnold (Australia), Pelle Edberg (Sweden)Woburn - Paul Dunne (Ireland), Robert Dinwiddie (Scotland), Retief Goosen (SA)

Goosen, 46, had only four hours' sleep following his return from a tied fourth-place finish at the BMW International Open in Germany on Sunday.

But, after 36 holes at Woburn, he overcame his fatigue to come through a play-off with English pair Adam Gee and Jamie Moul after all three players had tied on five-under-par.

That booked Goosen's return to the course where he has twice finished in the top 10, having tied fifth in 2005 and sixth when the Open was last at St Andrews five years ago.

"I won two Dunhill Cups there as well (with Ernie Els in 1997 and David Frost in 1998)," recalled Goosen. "I first played it when I was 18, so I've walked a good few miles on that course and I love it."

Goosen finished behind 22-year-old Irishman Paul Dunne, from Greystones, who won at Woburn for the second year running to become one of five amateurs in the field at St Andrews.

Dunne, who plans to turn professional later this year, was the only amateur to survive the 36-hole final qualifying, shooting rounds of 70 and 65 on the Marquess Course for a nine-under-par total of 135.

Two who did not make it to the home of golf
Colin Montgomerie, runner-up to Tiger Woods at St Andrews in 2005, who played at the US Open last week and finished runner-up at the US Senior Open in California on Sunday, missed out by four shots at Woburn.
Former Ryder Cup player Paul Broadhurst, who still jointly holds the record for the lowest round in a major, his 63 at the 1990 Open at St Andrews, also failed to qualify.

"I guess I love this place," he said. "Last year was a bit more of a shock because I had no expectations. This time I knew I could shoot the scores and that put more pressure on me. Going to St Andrews will be ultra-special."

Scotsman Dinwiddie, now based across the border in Country Durham at Barnard Castle, will finally make his Open debut at his 16th attempt after finishing second on his own at Woburn on six-under-par.

At Royal Cinque Ports, in Kent, young Englishmen Balcombe and Taylor shared top spot with professional Boyd on five under.

Taylor, 23, a plus-five handicapper from Walton Heath, who has just finished his studies at Louisiana State University, birdied three of his last seven holes for a 67.

"I might go to qualifying in America at the end of the year but this summer was about trying to make the Walker Cup at Lytham, so making The Open at St Andrews as an amateur is a dream," said Taylor.

Plus-three handicapper Balcombe, 19, from Bristol, followed up his opening 67 with a 70, while 28-year-old former European Tour player Boyd matched his two rounds.

144th Open Championship
Venue: St Andrews Dates: 16-19 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, online, Radio 5 live, sports extra, tablets, mobiles and app.

"I was in the clubhouse at Clevedon just before the regional qualifier last week and saw a picture of the 18th at St Andrews," said Balcombe. "I thought how great it would be to be a part of that. I've never played the Old Course, so I'm looking forward to the experience."

"It's going to be very special," said Boyd. "I first went to St Andrews as a 12-year-old with members from my club. It's where everyone wants to play."

At Gailes Links, near Glasgow, Young, from Longridge, near Preston, fired rounds of 68, including an eagle and three birdies, and 70 to finish two shots clear of the field on four under.

"It will be a dream come true to play in The Open at St Andrews," he said. "Where better to play in one?"

Liverpool amateur Kinnear had to come through a three-man play-off for two places, after finishing two shots back with Kiwi Fox and Welshman Rhys Davies on two under.

"I was shaking over my three-foot birdie putt at the last, he said. "It was awful waiting around to see if I was going to get into a play-off."