Liam Nolan qualifies for the Open: “It’s going to be crazy”

Ronan MacNamara

Liam Nolan (Photo by Mark Runnacles/R&A via Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Galway amateur Liam Nolan made putts of six feet and five feet for par on his last two holes to qualify for his first Open Championship at Royal Troon.

Nolan will tee it up in just under three weeks time after he secured one of four spots on offer at Final Qualifying at Dundonald Links where rounds of 69 and 70 gave him a five-under total and a share of second place, three shots behind Sam Hutsby.

“It was a long day with lots of different weather conditions so I had to adapt all day and just keep the ball in play as best as I could,” said a relieved and ecstatic Nolan.

The 24-year-old has experienced some tremendous highs over the last twelve months, winning in Ecuador, winning the Brabazon and putting in a terrific performance at the Walker Cup last September but a major championship debut at the Open takes the biscuit.

“It’s going to be crazy. I feel like I have had a very good amateur career but I feel like this one is a good one to tick off and play my first major.

“It’s hard to process the fact that I’m actually going to the Open but the crowds, I’m looking forward to everything. Being in Scotland the home of golf and yeah, I just can’t wait to go.”

Meanwhile, Justin Rose and Amateur Championship runner-up Dominic Clemons finished tied for first place on eight-under-par to secure the first two qualifying spots at Burnham & Berrow.

The former US Open champion carded a 65 in the opening round, including four birdies in-a-row from the turn, before following up with a three-under-par 68 in the afternoon. Clemons, who just missed out on a place at Royal Troon after losing in the Final of The Amateur at Ballyliffin bounced back at the first opportunity with rounds of 68 and 65 to secure his debut in the Championship.

“The Open’s been a bit of a fairytale and love story for me since I was 14 and I qualified at Scotscraig. Obviously there was winning the Silver Medal at Royal Birkdale a couple of years later, so The Open has always been super special,” said Rose.

“Sometimes you take it for granted – you’re exempt, you turn up and play for many years, but as you get older, things get a little harder so in some ways it’s good to have to qualify because it makes you appreciate The Open a little more and how special it is. Coming back to Burnham & Berrow was also special – first time back here since ’97. I was grateful to be back here and walk down memory lane.”

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