Open 2015: Liverpool’s Paul Kinnear better for Open experience

By Ged ScottBBC Sport at the Old Course, St Andrews
Paul Kinnear
Paul Kinnear carded rounds of 70 and 76 to finish two-over par
144th Open Championship
Venue: St Andrews Dates: 16-19 July
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Radio 5 live sports extra, Red Button and Connected TVs from 09:00 BST, Radio 5 live from 10:00 and tablets, mobiles and app from 06:30.

Liverpool's Paul Kinnear will return to the amateur circuit this week, all the better for his Open Championship experience in St Andrews and looking to shape his immediate future.

The former Tranmere Rovers youth team player, 21, will turn pro if he gets through qualifying school this autumn.

Before that, he hopes to make the Great Britain & Ireland team to play the USA in the Walker Cup.

But, despite missing the cut by two shots, his Open debut taught him a lot.

"It has been a great experience being around the best players in the world," Kinnear told BBC Radio Merseyside.

After finally resuming his weather-delayed second round when the wind dropped and the sun came out on Saturday evening, Kinnear's hopes finally disappeared with a bogey at the 17th, when a par and a birdie at the last would have got him in for the final two rounds.

Under the cross of St George at St Andrews
England's four amateurs on show at St Andrews this week - Alister Balcombe and already fully-fledged England internationals Kinnear, Ashley Chesters and Ben Taylor - have all four have worn shirts, some red, some white and some blue, bearing the English rose, the logo of England Golf, the country's leading amateur body.
Chesters, from Shropshire, Taylor, from Surrey and Kinnear, from Lancashire, have all put expected moves into the professional ranks on hold until after the biennial GB & Ireland Walker Cup match against the USA at Royal Lytham & St Annes on 12-13 September.

Having stood over a birdie putt on the 12th green at six under on the first day, looking to tie for the Open lead, in the end, Kinnear was undone by two days of weather delays - and the notorious Road Hole, on which he dropped three shots.

"I just can't play that 17th hole," he winced. "Double bogey on the first day, then this. After an all right tee shot, I hit a great shot into the green. Any straight bounce and I've got a birdie chance but, instead, it kicks left into the bunker and then over. I've got no chance.

"Still, after four hours' sleep, then hanging around and waiting all day getting stiff in the club house, I'm pleased with how I played.

"It would have been ridiculous to play any sooner. West Lancashire was pretty similar in the regional qualifier but it was not as strong as this. This was totally unplayable.

"I'm not sure whether I have a chance of making the Walker Cup team now. I know the captain Nigel Edwards well. He's been very supportive over the last couple of years, as have England Golf, and he texted me this week saying 'well done'.

"I've just got to try and put my name about in the English Amateur and the European Amateur over the next couple of weeks and see what happens. Then I will focus on Q school, to see if I can get in."