PLEASINGTON hot shot Jonathan Hurst moved a step closer to a dream appearance at the Open when he shone during regional qualifying at a sun-drenched Clitheroe yesterday – and can look forward to a shot at final qualifying for golf’s most famous event.
The 28-year-old Hurst, a Lancashire county player who works for a TV company covering Euopean Tour events, shot a brilliant two-under par 69 to make light of his amateur status around the immaculate Ribble Valley Course.
For the majority of the afternoon Hurst sat proudly at the top of the leaderboard only to be overhauled late in the day by South African Nicholaas Arnoldi as the competition for a coveted spot at Royal Liverpool next month reached boilding point.
A minimum of 10 players from yesterday’s battle at Clitheroe will go onto final qualifying at Gailes Links, Hillside, Sunningdale New and Woburn on July 1 with the top three from each prestigious venue getting the chance to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson for the Claret Jug.
Windermere’s former European Tour pro Simon Edwards is another man through after he shot a level par 71 but Wilpshire’s Joey Lamb and Longridge’s Clitheroe member Mark Young face an anxious wait to see if they will get through after they both carded two over scores of 73.
That was also the mark set by Rossendale’s Ashley Siddle but Clitheroe’s recently turned professional and former Harold Ryden winner Daniel Nutter couldn’t make the most of home course advantage as he carded a 75.
Club-mate Andrew Heesom and Golf Rossendale’s Niall Ormerod both shot 76, while Accrington pair Ian Hardman and Adam Smith carded 77 and 78 respectively.
Calcot Park’s Graham Arnott and Anglesey’s Gary Coppell suffered a torrid time as they both went round in 91.