England Golf: Heartbreak for Kinnear but Chesters makes the cutJuly, 2015
We take a look at the four English amateurs who have been playing in the Open this week.
Double European champion Ashley Chesters will continue his quest for Silver Medal glory at the Open after successfully making the cut, but there was heartbreak for Paul Kinnear, who saw his chances fade with the dying light on Saturday evening.
Having arrived at the course at 7am on Saturday morning, the 10-hour postponement due to high winds meant Kinnear wouldn’t finish his second round until almost 9pm.
“I found it really hard today,” the England Golf squad member said. “Getting here at half five, preparing to go and not being able to stand up because it’s 50 miles an hour winds.
“But I kept fighting and believing I could do it every step of the way.”
Kinnear had started the Open with six birdies in the first 11 holes, but slowly slipped down the leaderboard as conditions became tougher.
‘We wear the rose proudly to show thanks for the time and effort that has been put into us’
With the cut mark at level par, the Liverpool amateur went into the 17th hole on his second round just one shot away from remaining in the tournament. He hit a good approach, but saw his ball spin left and into the greenside bunker. Unable to get up and down from the sand, a bogey effectively ended his Open week.
“I am devastated,” he said. “But it was a great experience and hopefully I will get to play in many of these. I am really proud of the way I played – to get four hours sleep and to play like that, I am really proud of myself.”
Chesters, from Hawkstone Park in Shropshire, postponed his transition into the professional ranks after qualifying for the Open for the second year in succession when he became the first player to successfully defend the European Amateur Championship.
The 26-year-old finished his second round at one-under, and having double-bogeyed the 18th on Thursday, his par came as a great relief.
“All I wanted to do was make sure it got past the hole,” said Chesters, who missed the cut by a single stroke at Hoylake last year. “I think it made my family and the friends, who were up watching me, a little happier than they were the night before.”
Two other young English amateurs were also making their Open bow at St Andrews, but both Ben Taylor and Alister Balcombe were unable to overcome the tough, windy conditions on the Old Course.
Balcombe finished the tournament at six-over, while Taylor finished at 11-over, just one shot ahead of Tom Watson.
While Watson was making his final appearance, Taylor, who has made his name on the American college scene playing for Louisiana State University, vowed to return to the Open.
The 23-year-old from Surrey said: “There’s a feeling of letting people down when you’ve played so poorly.
“But the best thing about teeing it up here is making me realise that I can compete with these guys.
“I know I’m hitting it as well as them. They just know how to score better. I’ve got to keep plugging away and keep believing. Eventually I’ll be here competing in future tournaments.”
Kinnear, Taylor and Chesters also gave their thanks to England Golf, the governing body who has provided the three squad members with their apparel and supported them throughout the week.
Kinnear said: “I wouldn’t be here without them. I am really proud to wear this outfit and represent my country.”
Taylor added: “We wear the rose proudly to show thanks for the time and effort that has been put into us.”
Ashley Chesters sits five shots behind the leading amateur, Irishman Paul Dunne.
He tees off his third round on Sunday at 10.10am, when he has been paired with double European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.