CHRIS Hanson went close to doing a Nick Faldo in his quest to play in next week’s Open Championship.
He shot one-over-par 73 in the first round of local final qualifying at Southport and Ainsdale.
Faldo once made 18 straight pars in winning one of his Opens at Muirfield.
And 22-year-old Hanson almost matched that when making 17 regulation figures plus one bogey.
That was seven off the lead but no disgrace on a day when many scores soared higher at all three qualifying venues.
Now a good final round today could see the Crosland Heath tournament player – he has competed in EuroPro and Tamsel events this year – realise a dream.
Hanson’s lone dropped hole was the 396-yard 14th. where his two-iron tee shot found the tough rough and he had to chip out.
“Much of the way I played really nice,” said Hanson.
“But I didn’t hit it close enough to make the birdies.
“I needed 31 putts today and I can improve on that.
“I made two bad tee shots, the first of them at the second and I got away with that.
“The one at No14 was a major disappointment, and the par fives were something I didn’t take advantage of.
“But otherwise I hit it solid and I’m still in there. Who knows what can happen if I can shoot four or five under in the second round and that’s possible.”
Hanson, who has Ben Johnson, the new Fixby club champion he was at college with, on his bag, hit 13 greens in regulation in a wind that was at times two clubs different from his practice round.
“The position I’m in is not drastic and I’m in good heart,” he added.
Dan Greenwood, born at Clayton West and attached at Forest Pines, Scunthorpe, shot 71, a shot off the pace, at West Lancashire.
He made a double bogey at the short sixth and dropped shots at three other holes but responded with six birdies.
“I putted well but had to scramble at times – it’s what you need to do,” he said.
Hillside is the other course being used for qualifying for the big event at Royal Birkdale.
There are 96 players at each course vying for just four qualifying places from each venue in the field for the Open’s return to Southport on July 17.
Among those involved is French player Jean Van De Velde.
He was joint second in the 1999 Open at Carnoustie.