CHRIS Hanson will head to Bristol for the next PGA Europro Tour event after missing out on a place in next Thursday’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
The Crosland Heath man was in with an outside chance after his first round 73 in the final qualifying at Southport & Ainsdale but then fell by the wayside with a 79 yesterday that left him tied 43rd of 96 as only four players advanced.
Hanson birdied the second in style and through 11 holes he was level par and going strong, playing as well as he has done this season.
But his fortunes swung the other way as he tried to cut a shot into the highly troublesome wind that saw many players at all three venues suffer as it touched 30mph.
“The ball hooked and finished in thick rough and I never found it,” said Hanson, who followed a regulation figure at the next with bogeys at the next three.
One shot rolled off the green into a difficult situation while another kicked into a fairway trap for the loss of another stroke.
That ill-luck was the name of the game.
Hanson saw a shot miss the 16th fairway by a yard and he could progress the ball only 50 yards. Then to cap it all, his tee shot at 17 sailed out of bounds onto the railway.
Hanson also found putting far from straight forward.
“In 36 holes I made only one putt from outside six feet. The greens were pretty flat but I perhaps read too much into them,” he said.
“It was disappointing but great experience and I’m taking some positives from it. Next week it will be nice to play a course at Bristol that is over 7,500 yards and said to be the longest in Europe. Maybe it will be easier than a windy links.”
Dan Greenwood, the Forest Park-based pro who hails from Clayton West, was on course to qualify at West Lancs after a superb first round 71. But the wind and rough took its toll and a second round 84 left him well back.
“The dream became a nightmare,” he said.
None of 18 Yorkshire players involved at the three venues made it to Royal Birkdale.
Jon Lupton, the PGA Assistants champion from Middlesbrough, went closest.
The former Yorkshire county player lost out in a three-man play-off for the last two spots at Southport & Ainsdale after shooting 71 72.
Philip Walton, Europe’s Ryder Cup match-winning hero in 1995, and 1999 runner-up Jean Van de Velde are among 12 players to have come through the 36-hole final qualifying for the Open.
Irishman Walton, who last held a European Tour card three years ago and is now 46, was a three-stroke winner at West Lancashire, a course he described as “the best links I’ve played.”
Van de Velde made it through with a last-hole birdie at Hillside, a year after falling ill and pulling out of the qualifying to undergo a series of tests, including one for bone cancer. It turned out to be just a virus.
“It means a lot to be playing in it again,” the 42-year-old commented.
“There are only two tournaments a year I want to play in and play good in – the French Open and The Open.
“I qualified in 1999 and played quite well I seem to remember.”
He did, of course, lead by three with one to play at Carnoustie, but crashed to a nightmare triple-bogey seven and lost the play-off to Paul Lawrie.
Jamie Elson, whose father Pip was Europe’s Rookie of the Year in 1973, won at Hillside and will play his first Open.