Gene Elliott (YouTube screenshot)
A day after Shane Lowry closed out a raucous Open Championship victory at Royal Portrush, an earlier generation was spread out among courses in England looking to kick-start some Open glory of their own. Four 18-hole qualifiers for the Senior Open Championship took place Monday morning in advance of the championship later this month (July 25-28) at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
Four amateurs advanced through the qualifier at Hillside Golf Club in Southport, and two Americans were among them. One of those men was Iowa legend Gene Elliott, who qualified for this event for the second year in a row. With his wife on his bag, Elliott tied for fourth with a 1-over 73 and easily earned his place among the 13 qualifiers.
Robby McWilliams, the 2016 Louisiana Mid-Am champion from Benton, La., also qualified with 73, English amateur Andrew Francis had 72 to get in and Steve Kelbrick, another Englishman, advanced with 2-over 74.
It’s also worth noting that Gary Nicklaus advanced at 1 over. This time last year, Nicklaus was still an amateur, and preparing to play the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach. He has since re-declared himself a professional to compete among the seniors.
At Fairhaven in Lytham, English amateur Steve Sansome was among four co-medalists with a round of 3-under 70. Another amateur very nearly got through the Fairhaven qualifier, and that was Euan McIntosh.
McIntosh, a Scotsman, is maybe a more recognizable name after the 50-year-old won three tournaments in a row in Scotland last year, starting with the Scottish Amateur. McIntosh often holds his own against younger fields, but on Monday, finished with an even-par 73 only to lose in a five-for-three playoff.
In St. Annes, at St. Annes Old Links, only English amateur Ian Crowther advanced with an even-par 72. Crowther has finished inside the top 25 at the British Senior Amateur each of the past three years.
Finally, at Southport & Ainsdale, Garry Lacy of England qualified for the second straight year with a 2-over 74.
ABOUT THE Senior British Open Qualifying
18-hole stroke play qualifier held at three sites on the
Monday before the
Senior British Open Championship. The Senior British
Open has been
part of the European Seniors Tour since 1987
and from 2003 is included in the Champions
Tour as one of the five major world events in
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