Australasian trio Carnoustie bound
BY iseekgolf.com | European PGA Tour | 2007 British Open | Preview | 12 Jul 2007
Aussies Matthew Zions and Richard Green and New Zealand’s Steven Alker have added their names to the Australasian list of players to take part at next week’s Open Championship taking the Australasian line-up at this year’s third major to 22.
Green found himself deservedly in the field replacing Woody Austin as the highest non-exempt player on the world rankings at number 39. Austin withdrew from the event which will now see Green, winner of last month’s Austrian Open lining up at Carnoustie.
Zions and Alker were two of just twelve players from a field of 384 who have booked their places in The Open after successfully making it through Local Final Qualifying in the UK overnight. Both players finished in equal first place at their respective venues.
A second round 68 to add to his first round leading 65, saw 28-year-old Zions from the New South Wales Central Coast finish in a tie at the top of the leaderboard at Montrose on 133 with England’s David Shacklady.
“This feels pretty good,” said Zions. “It was a long night and I realised I didn’t have any plane tickets to get out of here so I thought it would be a good idea to stay around. Before Sunday afternoon I was not hitting it very well, but on the range it suddenly felt like the old me. I only made a few mistakes and hit some really good shots today.”
Safe in the knowledge that his 133 total would secure a him a place in his first Open Championship Zions was thrilled. “It’s going to be unbelievable. Not everyone gets to play in The Open.”
The past year has seen Zions record some impressive results after finishing as just one of only six players, out of 671 entrants, who successfully negotiated all three stages of the 2006 European Tour Qualifying School. He is currently 161st on the European Tour with his best result in 2007 a tie for ninth at the Valle Romano Open de Andalucia and three top 25 finishes.
At Panmure, Steven Alker, winner of the 2002 Louisiana Open on the former Buy.com Tour, tied for first on five under alongside home players Kevin Harper and Steve Parry. Alker mixed two birdies and an eagle in his first round even-par 70 and fired six birdies with one dropped shot in his second round.
A three time winner on the Australasian Von Nida Tour and two time Canadian Tour winner, Alker will make his first visit to Carnoustie and has played at The Open just once, in 1998 at Royal Birkdale where he missed the cut.
He fired a five-under par 135 for 36 holes to be in a three-way share of top spot with UK golfers Kevin Harper and Steve Parry – all three going through to a place in the final field.
“That was a decent round,” said the 35-year-old Hamilton professional. “I just wanted to keep it going and I made no mistakes and putted nicely.”
The trio join nineteen Australasians already in the field including: Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Aaron Baddeley, Ben Bunny, Michael Campbell NZL, Peter Fowler, David Gleeson, Adam Groom, Mark Hensby, Scott Laycock, Won Joon Lee, Geoff Ogilvy, Nick O’Hern, Rod Pampling, Terry Pilkadaris, Ewan Porter, Adam Scott, John Senden and Paul Sheehan.
Remaining places to complete the field of 156 will come from the leading player, not exempt, in the first 10 and ties of the 2007 Barclays Scottish Open and the leading player, not exempt, in the first 10 and ties of the 2007 John Deere Classic, both of which take place this week.
Source – PGA Tour