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Northern Ireland players miss out in Open Qualifying while former Ryder Cup star denied a spot

Massereene’s Tiarnan McLarnon
Massereene’s Tiarnan McLarnon
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Six Northern Ireland players were in good company as they missed out on a place at the Open Championship in final qualifying.

With 288 competitors bidding for just 12 places - split across four qualifying venues - it was always a big ask.

Clandeboye professional Jonathan Caldwell came closest, carding an even par total for his 36 holes at Fairmont St Andrews and losing out by only four shots.

He finished a shot clear of Massereene Golf Club's Tiarnan McLarnon, who had been tied fourth early in his second round.

Also at Fairmont, Holywood teenager Tom McKibbin had come through regional qualifying last week but a four over par opening round all but ended his hopes before a one over par second round left him five over in total.

Warrenpoint Town's Colm Campbell injected life into his opening round with three consecutive birdies at St Andrews but that could only help the amateur to one over at the midway point before a disappointing second round led to a 10 over par total.

Over at Notts, former European Tour player Michael Hoey and Moyola Park professional Gareth Shaw were vying for a spot alongside the likes of Tour veteran Robert Rock.

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Neither of the local players finished their 36-holes, Hoey withdrawing after a three over par first round and Shaw ending his day six holes early at five over par.

Rock didn't make it either, ending on one over par for the day, six shots off qualification.

More familiar names to miss a spot at Royal Portrush were two-time Ryder Cup player David Howell and 2017 Made in Denmark winner Julian Suri.

They were beaten at Prince's by Curtis Knipes, Callum Shinkwin and Canada's Austin Connelly.

At Fairmont, American Brandon Wu led the scoring at nine under, clear of Scottish duo Connor Syme and Sam Locke.

Going through from at St Annes was Challenge Tour player Garrick Porteous, along with fellow pros Jack Senior and Matthew Baldwin.

And at Notts, aspiring Tour professional Andrew Wilson carded a seven under par total and will be joined in Portrush by fellow Englishmen Thomas Thurloway and Ashton Turner.

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