Canter and Laird secure spots at The 146th Open Championship

Well done to both Laurie Canter and Martin Laird on securing spots into the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale later this month.

Canter secured his tee-time after a thrilling play-off on Tuesday at Final Qualifying against two other players at Notts Hollinwell Golf Course.

“Obviously it will be a great week, I’m just excited to get going,” said Canter, who is in his second full year on the European Tour.

“Tuesday was a fairly long day and I’m having a bit of a come down, but the prospect of playing at the Open will be brilliant. I’m definitely playing the most consistent golf I have ever played in my life, I’ve got some really good people around me now,”

Laurie shot a bogey free 67 in the morning and followed it up with a 2 under 70, to see him finish the day on -7 – good enough for a tie for third with two others.

In the first sudden death hole against Italian Stefano Mazzoli and Englishman Rhys Nevin-Wharton, Canter holed a nervy 10ft to avoid elimination.

Mazzoli was knocked out of contention at the second and a third par on the trot was enough for Canter to see off Nevin-Wharton after they teed it up for a third time.

Scotland’s Martin Laird earned his place at The Open by finishing tied for third at the Quicken Loans National in Maryland.

He shot a final round 67 (three under par), to end the event on five under.

“Anytime you can play in an Open, that’s my favourite tournament of the year,” said Laird.

“To have the chance to play it anytime is special. I’ve heard great things about Birkdale.”

Not only has Martin qualified for The Open, but he is also back in the world’s top 100 (87th) for the first time in more than three years, which shows the great golf that he is playing at the moment.

Martin and Laurie will join Dustin, Brooks and Thorbjorn who have already qualified for The Open Championship. What a great week at Royal Birkdale it is going to be!

Canter relieved after regaining his European Tour card

Bath golfer Laurie Canter admitted it was a huge relief to secure his European Tour card for next season, after a nervy finish in the final round of qualifying school.

Despite starting the final day outside the top 25, the 27 year old shot a 2 under 70 in his last round to finish in a tie for 19th at PGA Catalunya Resort in Spain.

The Cumberwell Park pro earned a tour spot last year through the same route, but failed to make enough prize money to regain his card.

However, Canter recovered from that disappointment to come through the tense six round Q-School holing a crucial ten-foot putt on the final hole to make sure of his place.

“I was pretty confident six under would get in as the finish is really tough and the last two holes are really long,” Canter said. “It was a nervy ten-foot putt as I thought I would be safe if I made it.

“It was a big relief when it was confirmed I had my tour card, especially to do it properly, with my back against the wall.

“I felt like my game had been good for a long time last year and I was confident going into Q-School, but I know how much I have improved as a player going into this year.

“I started off nicely and even though I didn’t play great, I managed to score well. The third and fourth rounds were tough as the conditions were tricky and I wasn’t swinging as well.

“But mentally I wanted to be excited about the opportunity and frame it differently and those last two rounds were some of the best rounds I’ve played all year.”

Canter revealed that thanks to some changes made by the European Tour, he will hopefully play around 20-25 tournaments next season – compared to the 17 he had last year.

He said he now wants to concentrate on working towards the re-rank in June as he looks to secure his tour card without needing to go through the trials and tribulations of Q-School again.

“Unless you are in that environment then you won’t be able to improve,” said Canter. “I want to be a regular European Tour player and eventually work towards winning.

“There a lot of things I want to do, but it is tough to work towards those goals when you are not in that environment. If you are a footballer, you want to be in the Premier League so you can improve.

“I got advice from a coach in the United States and my putting has improved since and hopefully that will serve me well going forward. You can learn so much while on the tour.”

Canter will not have long to prepare for his European Tour return, with his first tournament of the new season taking place at the start of next month.

The Alfred Dunhill Championship starts on December 1st at Leopard Creek in South Africa and it holds fond memories for Canter, who finished tied-34th at the event last season.

But Canter wants to take a different approach to his second season on tour, focusing less on making cuts and more on playing with freedom.

“Anything can happen and you can’t get too down on yourself based on the scores as you can play well and have one thing not go your way,” he added.

“I made cuts last year and that was great as you have to make it through to the weekend to be in contention, but I want to play with more freedom.

“You can’t go into the first rounds with the goal of making the cut as if you hold back that’s when the game will bite you. I don’t want to play with a gun to my head.

“If I play with the freedom I did in the final two rounds of Q-School then I know I can make some good scores and take the bull by the horns.”

Canter also thanked his sponsors AJ Removals, Cumberwell, Redde Group and Marble Works of Bath. He said: “They have been a great support all year and I’m lucky to have such great people and support around me.”

Article courtesy of the Bath Chronicle