Reality is just starting to sink in for Woodsome Hall playing professional Chris Hanson after achieving his long-standing dream to play in The Open.

There were tears on the 18th green after a dramatic play-off between four players for the final three places at the qualifier at Hillside, Southport, this week.

Hanson,28 was unable to hold back the tears as he realised his dream had finally come true.

Speaking after his second successive round of 69, Hanson beamed: “I’ve reached final qualifying several times before but the nearest I came was Hillside a few years ago when I missed out by three strokes. It’s unbelievable, a dream come true and I’m delighted.”

He has secured his place at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, on July 17, where he will line up alongside the world’s greats.

Mum Sue had travelled to Hillside with Crosland Heath friends Sue Kaye and Sue Horsfall. When Hanson knew he had qualified, she exchanged a tearful hug with her son on the 18th green. Even ex-Royal Marine Steve Tooby, who has been on the Hanson bag for the last five years, was overcome with emotion.

Sue said: “The play-off was very nerve-wracking. When Christopher realised he was through, the relief was enormous and there were tears. Steve too; it was his ambition to caddy in The Open.

“I was very nervous for him and kept dodging behind trees to keep out of his sight, so I missed a few of his shots!

“I am so very proud of him, and his father, John, would have been so incredibly proud.”

On the way back to Huddersfield, Hanson’s phone “went ballistic” with countless messages of good will from friends, fellow golfers from Huddersfield and other professionals.

Wife Laura threw a surprise party that evening for Hanson and Tooby, before they flew off for the Challenge Tour event at the Hartl Resort in Bavaria.

The play-off was the end of a dramatic conclusion to the last qualifier for the Championship. And while Hanson celebrated, there was sadness for another fine Huddersfield golfer.

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
 

Three players were on six under for the 72 holes when young Fixby gun Nick Marsh stormed home with two birdies on the last two holes to join them, sinking a 30ft putt on the last hole in the Process.

All four players parred the first play-off hole, then it was on to the ninth. The other three were on the par four in regulation, but Marsh’s drive hit a fairway bunker. He chipped out and then hit a marvellous shot to within six or seven feet of the hole, but just missed the putt.

Sue said: “Nick Marsh absolutely stiffed his third shot onto the green; it was a really fine shot, but his putt just slipped by the hole.

“It was a great shame; what a story it would have been to have two Huddersfield players in The Open.”

She added: “Chris likes a big gallery, he loves it when people go to support him and he is relishing the challenge of playing in The Open. It is what he always wanted, it’s his big dream.”

Click here to take you back to more Sports news.

Want to read, watch and hear more? You can download the FREE Examiner Apple App here, the FREE Examiner Android App here or you can view the paper as an e-edition on your Apple, Android or Kindle device by clicking here

To follow us on Twitter click here