CORHAMPTON Golf Club’s Scott Gregory came up just a shot shy of forcing his way into a play-off to earn a spot at this year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
Last year’s Amateur champion shot two rounds of 71 at Royal Cinque Ports to finish on level par.
Four players were tied on one-under, including fellow Walker Cup hopeful David Boote, from Walton Heath, who lost out in the play-off to Canadian Austin Connelly, who joined Essex’s European Tour player Matthew Southgate and former Brabazon Trophy winner Robert Dinwiddie in claiming one of the three spots up for grabs.
Gregory carded four-birdies and four bogeys in the morning round, having birdied the tough 17th and 18th to finish strongly. He started the afternoon round with a birdie at the tenth but gave a shot back at the 13th.
Two more went at the second and fourth and with five to play, his dream looked dead and buried. But he rallied with back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth, but could only par his way in over the last three.
The 13th proved his undoing as a five sent him back to level and there was no repeat of the earlier play on the final two holes when just one birdie would have given him a crack of playing in the Open for the second year in a row.
Last year, Gregory briefly led the Open at Royal Troon, after getting to four-under after ten holes, but a torrid back nine saw him shoot 78 and a second round 73 left him five shots short of the cut in his debut in the Majors.
Since then he has played at Augusta in the Masters, and made his US Open debut.