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Heartbreak for Hampshire's Open hopefuls
Hampshire teammates Scott Gregory and Jordan Ainley came up just short in their bid to qualify for the Open Championship today.
The teenage amateur stars travelled to Scotland for local final qualifying and came close to securing one of the last remaining places at Muirfield.
Corhampton’s Gregory, 18, put on an excellent display at The Musselburgh and looked for a long time as if he might grab one of the three available spots, only to finish in a tie for fifth.
Gregory was tied for third place after a three-under-par 68 in the morning, and by the time he had reached the 36th hole of his day he had moved to five-under.
However, he then endured some terrible misfortune, with his drive hitting the back of a bunker and kicking to the right, where it came to rest against a tree.
He was forced to chip backwards onto the first fairway and ended up making a double bogey.
As it turned out, though, even a par at the last wouldn’t have been good enough, with two players finishing six-under and one on nine-under.
Brokenhurst Manor’s Ainley, playing at Dunbar, also came up three strokes short, but like Gregory could reflect on an impressive day of golf.
Ainley, 19, shot level-par in the morning, before storming to a four-under 66 in the afternoon, which saw him finish in a tie for 12th place.
The reigning English Amateur champion, Harry Ellis, could never quite get anything going at The Musselburgh, though, as he came home in joint 44th place.
After a three-over-par round in the morning, he produced the same score in the afternoon.
Liphook professional James Foster finished in a tie for 26th at Gullane, after shooting 76 and 72.
He was joined at the course by Hayling’s Toby Burden, who had a tough day, with rounds of 77 and 78, which saw him end up tied 49th.
With European Tour pro Richard Bland having narrowly missed out at international qualifying last week, it will be the new US Open champion, Justin Rose, who provides Hampshire’s sole representation in the year’s third major.
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