MARK Young declared himself happy with his Open Championship debut despite missing the cut before declaring: “I’ll be back.”

The Clitheroe star shot successive rounds of 74 at St Andrews to finish four shots off playing the final rounds.


But the 33-year-old ended three shots clear of Tiger Woods with Ryder Cup stars Edoardo Molinari and Thomas Bjorn also finishing behind the Ribble Valley man.

And Young, who is set to return to the local greens with a round at Longridge today, said he now believed he belonged with the world’s best.

“It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience,” he said.

“My scoring did not reflect how I struck the ball. From tee to green I was as good as I have ever been but I just didn’t hole any puts.

“But it was a great experience and I really enjoyed it.

“I believe I can compete with these people.”

Young, who came through qualifying to reach the main field, went out in the worst of the conditions on Thursday before heavy rain and wind delayed his second round tee time by three hours.

And the Clitheroe man, a multiple Northern Order of Merit champion, believes a bit more luck could have seen him into the weekend.

“I would say I was definitely on the wrong side of the draw,” he added.

“I thought overnight that if I could shoot level par at worse then I would make the cut but in the end it wasn’t to be.

“I had watched the way the course was playing and felt I had to shoot four under on the front nine and then just hand on. I was a little bit disappointed to only be one under and then I knew it would be tough the way the back nine was playing.

But I still really enjoyed it and It is an experience I want to repeat again and one I believe I can do again. I wasn’t overawed by the occasion and I do think I can belong with these guys.”

Although Young said he wasn’t fazed by the world class opposition he admits he did take a minute to contemplate competing against Tiger Woods.

He added: “There was one point when I was on the 16th green waiting for my playing partner who was running up a big score and Tiger was in the bunker on the next hole to me.

“That was a moment where I thought ‘I am playing in the same tournament as Tiger Woods’ and I beat him.”

Young stayed on to watch Saturday’s rain-affected action but returned to East Lancashire yesterday for another busy week.

“It will be a bit of a come down on Monday as I am just playing with the lads at Longridge,” said Young. “I’ll have to carry my own bag and replace my own divots!

“Then I have a Euro Pro tournament at Hawkstone Park so I am there from Tuesday to Friday.”