Celebrating 150 years

For Immediate Publication


25 May 2010, Plano, Texas, USA: Scotland’s highest-ranked player, Martin Laird, has successfully qualified for the 150th Anniversary Open Championship through International Final Qualifying – America. The 27-year-old, who made his Open Championship debut on the Ailsa Course at Turnberry last year, posted an eight-under-par, 36-hole total of 131 to take one of eight places available yesterday at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas.

The Glaswegian followed an opening round of 69, one under par, with a seven-under-par 63, the joint-best round of the day, around Gleneagles’ 6856-yard Queens Course to ensure his place on the Old Course.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” said Laird, whose second round began with an outward 29, six under par. “My parents live 15 miles away from St Andrews so I will stay there all week. St Andrews: that’s the place I always wanted to play as a kid.”

Leading the qualifiers was Tim Petrovic, who shot rounds of 64 and 65 for an 11-under-par 129. He will now look forward to making his fourth Open appearance, having first played at Muirfield in 2002, again at St Andrews in 2005 and, most recently, in 2008 at Royal Birkdale.

Bo Van Pelt signed for back-to-back, five-under-par 65s to finish one stroke behind Petrovic on 10 under. The 35-year-old from Indiana will return to The Open for the first time since competing at Royal Liverpool in 2006, his other two appearances coming at Royal Troon in 2004 and at St Andrews in 2005.

“I drove it pretty well, which kind of set up everything and I just took advantage of those short holes,” said Van Pelt. “I took advantage of the holes you could get at, then the tough holes just made pars on.

“I’ve played in three before. It has been a couple of years. It’s probably the biggest tournament in the world, so those are the ones you want to play in. Every guy that came here today obviously wanted to get in, so it’s exciting to get there.”

DA Points, who led the field after a round-one 63, was a further stroke behind Petrovic on a nine-under-par total of 131, comfortably qualifying for his first Open Championship.

“Qualifying means a lot,” said Points. “I’ve never played in an Open and I’ve never played at St Andrews.

“Today was the best golf I’ve probably played in 2010. I drove it pretty well, I hit some decent iron shots, putted really well and managed my game well. Even when I missed the green, I chipped it real close. So it was just a good day.”

The remaining four players that clinched one of the eight Open places a