Golf: Elliot’s joy at sealing return to the Open

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ARCHERFIELD golfer Elliot Saltman will make his second Open appearance in four years at Royal Lytham in a fortnight’s time.

It follows his success in a three-man play-off in yesterday’s Local Final Qualifier at Southport & Ainsdale.

Saltman played in the world’s oldest major for the first time along with his younger brother Lloyd at Turnberry in 2009.

And he’ll be back on that same stage a fortnight tomorrow after keeping his nerve to survive in a shoot-out for two spots.“I’m delighted to qualify again,” said the 30-year-old. “I’m also glad one of the Saltmans will be flying the flag at Lytham.”

That was reference to Lloyd missing out this time – he tied for eighth at Hillside – as well as their younger brothet Zack, who fell at the regional qualifying stage.

Elliot was well-placed after an opening four-under 68 that included seven birdies. In the afternoon, he ended a run of seven straight pars on his back nine with a vital birdie at the last.

Saltman was among just 12 players to earn spots at Lytham, the only other Scot in that dozen being Motherwells Steven O’Hara.

It means the tartan contingent in a fortnight’s time will be at least six strong, the duo joining exempt quartet Paul Lawrie, Martin Laird, Sandy Lyle and Richie Ramsay.

Stephen Gallacher can still get into the third major of the season if he finishes in the top three in either the French or Scottish Open.

Baberton’s Paul Ferrier finished down in 40th at Hillside.

Royal Burgess amateur James Ross tied for tenth at West Lancs on 143 (71, 72).