This is second part of my introduction to the superstars who have qualified for this weeks Open Championship.
The first six qualifiers included two amateurs, two European Tour players, the former number one amateur in the globe and a satellite tour player. This tale will show that even household golfing names do not waltz into the most famous major of them all.
Royal Cinque Ports is one of my personal favourites across the globe, but I am lucky enough for it to be stationed in my home county of Kent. It has been the home of the Open Championship twice in its 120 year history, as well as the British Amateur Championship in 2013. In this field were Matt Ford and Ross McGowan, both European tour players, but those who prevailed were as follows:
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Alister Balcombe (A)
English amateur golfer holding a plus-three handicap is currently learning from the coaches at Iowa Western Community College, USA. Proclaimed to be a level headed guy, with the ability to hit the ball far and straight, the 19-year-old will be relishing the opportunity to rub shoulders with the stars.
Benjamin Taylor (A)
Another amateur player secured their spot at this year's Open and, like Balcombe, plies in trade in America. The Englishman has an impressive CV including having won the Abu Dhabi Junior Championship in 2010. The plus-four handicapper, who is lucky enough to be a member at the prestigious Walton Heath, shared the spoils at Royal Cinque Ports with a 36 hole total of five under par.
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Completing the all English affair at this qualifier, Boyd has been a professional since 2007 and currently earns his money on the Challenge Tour.
Currently fifth on the "Road to Oman", he is a proven winner on the tour, clinching the Kenya Open title in 2009 and is in good form this season. The Englishman thoroughly deserves his place at the biggest event in golf.
The final of the local qualifiers was held at Woburn, more specifically the Marquess' Course. Woburn was the first 54 hole golf complex to have all three of their courses in "Golf Monthly Magazines Top 100 Courses in UK & Ireland". In this star studded field which included Colin Montgomerie and Robert Rock, but as always, only three places were available.
Paul Dunne (A)
This 22-year-old Irishman has had a stella amateur career. During his high school days he was considered one of the best junior golfers in Ireland and has since moved across the Atlantic for college golf. He has major experience because in his junior year, he played in the Open Championship. Dunne was the clear winner at this qualifier with a 36 hole total of nine under par.
Dinwiddie is a regular player on the European Tour, having played 13 events this season already. He has been a regular player on the tour for a while now and has accumulated over €1million in prize money in his career. He is a three time winner on the Challenge Tour and will be looking for a good result at The Open. The Englishman finished three shots behind Dunne at six under par.
That's right, this huge star name had to go through qualifying just like many other hopefuls. The two time US Open Champion has not had the best time on the course of late, despite playing 17 tournaments this year, he has only secured two top-ten-finishes and sits at a lowly 204th in the Official World Golf Rankings.
I say 'lowly', but being 204th in the World still pays well and its an amazing achievement for mere mortals such as myself.
This man is a major winner, was ranked inside the top ten for five years, 27 professional wins, I could go on. The man is a legend of the game and I am pleased to announce that he qualified for the 144th Open Championship at St Andrews after defeating the English duo of Adam Gee and Jamie Moul in a playoff.
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