Woodsome Hall members and staff are thrilled that Chris Hanson has qualified for the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

The 28-year-old professional, who is attached to the Fenay Bridge club after coming through the ranks at Crosland Heath, qualified for the major at Hoylake starting on July 17 by coming through a tense final qualifying play-off at Hillside in Southport.

Hanson, Huddersfield Golf Club’s England amateur Nick Marsh, John Singleton and Oscar Floren of Sweden all finished on six under par, but only three places were available in the big event and Marsh was the unlucky one who missed out in the play-off.

He will be hoping there are withdrawals in the next couple of weeks and he may get a call-up from the reserve list, but Hanson will definitely be introduced by Ivor Robson on the first tee, with his first target to make the cut for the weekend.

Woodsome Hall club professional John Eyre – who coached Hanson through much of his career – said: “What fantastic news, and I know from his message to me that Chris is totally over the moon to have made the Open.

“I know it was a bit of a roller-coaster ride, but to shoot two rounds of three under par at such a tough venue as Hillside, when the rough is up, is no mean achievement, and to see it through in the play-off was just magnificent – quite a few of our members went over to watch him.

“I have been helping him since the age of 11 and I have always felt Chris has been due a break.

“He was very unlucky at Tour School, when he led Stage 2 and ended up just missing out, but he has been working closely with Mark Pearson (pro at Oulton Driving Range) and he’s now got an opportunity in the biggest golf tournament in the world.

“The great thing is that Chris is such a nice, genuine lad who works tirelessly at his game.

Hillside Golf Club
Hillside Golf Club
 

“Everyone at Woodsome Hall and in Huddersfield golf generally will be wishing him all the best and I just hope he can play well and make the cut, because that really could be a life-changing experience for him.”

Challenge Tour golfer Hanson shot rounds of 69, 69 at Hillside – exactly the same as Marsh – and after the play-off success will line up against the best players in the world – including Tiger Woods – all hoping to challenge for the famous Claret Jug.

Hanson, 6ft tall and 13.6 stone – the son of former Halifax-Huddersfield Union Seniors champion John – immediately left to play in Germany and paid tribute to caddy Steven Tooby for helping him through the event.

“My faith has always been with Chris that he could do something like this, and now he’s got the break he’s been working towards he’ll be determined to make the most of it,” added Eyre.

“To have two Huddersfield-based players in Chris and Nick Marsh doing so well in the final qualifying, it just shows what good careers they have in front of them.

“I don’t know Nick, but I’ve heard a lot about him and his ability, and from Chris’s point of view this achievement is just so special.

“Just imagine, he is going to stand on that first tee and Ivor Robson is going to announce his name in those famous tones we’ve all heard so often!

“Chris will enjoy it and I’m sure, from working with him and knowing how he handles himself, he’ll thrive on the whole experience, because he deserves the chance to play on the biggest stage.”

Eyre believes Hoylake will suit Hanson’s excellent short game.

Woodsome Hall golfer Chris Hanson from Huddersfield reacts to the scoreboard at Hillside, where he qualified for the Open Championship
Woodsome Hall golfer Chris Hanson from Huddersfield reacts to the scoreboard at Hillside, where he qualified for the Open Championship

“I don’t think it’s the toughest Open venue and the greens are not too undulating, so he should have a good chance because he chips and putts so well,” added Eyre.

“Brought up at Crosland Heath, he also knows how to handle typical Open weather conditions, too, and I think that’s why he played so well at Hillside.

“This is a chance for Chris to see where he truly stands against the best players in the game, to judge himself on the biggest stage, and we are all mega-proud of him”.

Former Huddersfield Golf Club professional Paul Carman, now 52, played in the Open Championship three times, the first in 1988 when he played all four rounds at Royal Lytham & St Annes and the last in 1995, when he fell short of the cut at St Andrews.

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