Jamie McLeary looking for a spark in Open debut

Jamie McLeary aims to break his jinx by making the cut at Hoylake
Jamie McLeary aims to break his jinx by making the cut at Hoylake
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Jamie McLeary freely admits his golf has been poor this season.

It is why he has missed nine cuts in a row and is struggling to hold on to his European Tour card.

But wild horses won’t stop him enjoying a first major appearance in this week’s Open at Hoylake.

The Bonnyrigg-based player finished second in the final qualifier at Gailes Links in Ayrshire to secure his spot in the Claret Jug joust.

It meant both his golfing dreams came true in the same year after making it on to the European Tour for the first time.

There’s still time for McLeary to retain that card and a good week on Merseyside could provide a much-needed spark.

“It’s great just to be part of an event like this and, even though I’ve played c**p, this year is going to be one I’ll remember,” he said.

“Obviously I want to be playing on the European Tour all the time – but I need to get my finger out.”

Simply earning a berth in the world’s oldest major has earned McLeary plenty of pats on the back since he shot a 63 in one of his rounds at Gailes Links.

“I’ve had a lot of people coming up to me to offer their congratulations since I qualified and that’s been nice,” he admitted. “It’s an event I didn’t think I’d be playing in this year, so I am certainly looking forward to it.

“I came down here on Sunday, having spent some time practising at Banchory after missing the cut in the Scottish Open. I know bits and bobs about the course from watching it on TV in 2006. I also popped in to have a look at it when I was driving down to a Challenge Tour event in Wales once.”

McLeary has rented a house in Chester so that his fiancee Cheryl and their two young kids, Millie and Coben, can savour the experience with him.

“I’m sure my mum and dad will be coming down as well,” he said.

Practice rounds for The Open offer unheralded players the chance to prepare in the company of former champions.

Slots are available on a sheet and players are free to go with whoever they want.

“I’ve not got anything fixed up at the minute. I don’t know how it works, to be honest,” admitted McLeary.

“I used Monday as a chance to take everything and will practise on Tuesday and Wednesday.”