Whiteford qualifies to play The Open

4810084 SSFF peter whiteford 'Golfer Peter Whiteford in conversation with Sports Editor Matthew Elder at Wellsgreen Driving Range, Leven
4810084 SSFF peter whiteford 'Golfer Peter Whiteford in conversation with Sports Editor Matthew Elder at Wellsgreen Driving Range, Leven
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KIRKCALDY golfer Peter Whiteford will compete in his first Major championship next month after a brilliant performance in the 36-hole qualifier at Sunningdale on Monday.

Whiteford carded a three under par 67 in his opening round, and followed that up with a stunning afternoon 64 to finish third among 100 hopefuls, and take one of the 10 places up for grabs in The Open Championship, taking place at Royal St George’s in Kent on July 14 to 17.

It capped off a dream week for the Fifer as, just 24 hours earlier, he was celebrating his second successive top 10 finish on the European Tour, collecting a cheque for 44,000 euros after an eagle on the last hole earned a share of eighth place at the Saab Wales Open at Celtic Manor.

“I was delighted with the way Wales went, especially getting the eagle at the last,” Whiteford said. “I didn’t play well on the Saturday, but a good strong finish like that lets you feel as though you left nothing out on the course.

“Monday was different, I more nervous, and I wouldn’t say it was enjoyable!

“If you mess up your last few holes in a tournament it can still be a good week, but when you’re trying to qualify for a Major it can be the difference between making and missing.

“Nobody cares if you miss by one shot, but after I birdied the 17th in my second round I had a shot in hand going into the last hole, which is exactly the position you want to be in really.

“My main goal for the year is still to reach the Race to Dubai, but making my first Major is the icing on the cake.

“It’s a wee extra bonus for the year and I’m really looking forward to it.

“With the Scottish Open taking place the week before, this is a big part of the year for me.

“I’m playing some nice stuff, and while I’ve never been the most confident player, the confidence is there at the moment.”

Whiteford’s current form suggests he could be among the contenders for the BMW Italian Open, which starts today (Thursday).

He is currently placed 49th in the European Tour Order of Merit, while his world ranking has shot up 90 places in the past fortnight, with the Wellsgreen pro now ranked 226th.