Three NZers to play British Open

It is hard to remember the British Open having three New Zealanders in the field, but that is the reality for the 149th edition, which will begin on July 15.

Ryan Fox, Danny Lee and Daniel Hillier will tee it up at Royal St George’s Golf Club at Sandwich Bay, a long sweeping inlet on the east coast of Kent in England.

Lee, whose recent form has been anything but inspiring, qualified through a good finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last year.

He will be looking to expunge the memory of his embarrassing meltdown and walk-off at last year’s US Open when he still had an opportunity for a good finish.

Fox qualified by dint of his impressive form in winning the Australasian Order of Merit.

Some of his best play in Europe has been on links courses, so he will hope to emulate that this time.

Daniel Hillier, who is relatively new on the international circuit but has been playing well on the European Challenge Tour, had to win his place through a nerve-racking qualifier that finished yesterday.

Hillier produced his best form to win the final qualifier at Hollinwell in Nottinghamshire.

His first-round 64 contained an impressive 10 birdies and featured a remarkable run of five birdies from the 13th hole.

A solid 69 in the second round with a final-hole birdie clinched a one-shot victory.

This will be his second major; he has already played in the US Open.

"I got on a good run and just tried to keep it going as long as I could,’’ Hillier said.

"It’s a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to play in major championships, so I’m really excited.”

After his experience at the US Open, where he failed to make the cut, he will be keen to go one better and be one of the 70 plus ties who play the weekend.

This will be the 15th time the Open has been held at Royal St George’s. The course, which measures 6574m and is in the middle of salt marshes, sand flats and sand dunes, is a perfect setting for links golf.

- By Neville Idour

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