ELLIOT Saltman is confident it will be third-time lucky in the Open Championship after missing the cut for a second time in the event.
Needing to shoot in the 60s to be around for the final two rounds at Royal Lytham, the Archerfield ace produced a battling second-day effort.
After dropping a shot at the second and then taking a double-bogey 5 at the fifth, his dream of making that cut had gone early on.
But he then covered the next 11 holes in two-under before undoing that good work with a quadruple-bogey 8 at the 17th.
He eventually signed for a 75 and an 11-under total, finishing alongside both Phil Mickelson and Paul Casey.
“Apart from one hole, it was a decent round,” said Saltman. “It was a stupid 8 at the 17th. I was in a bunker that had water in it and I had to take a drop. It was hard and I knifed it out over the back of the green.
“But I have still thoroughly enjoyed myself, as you should do playing in the Open Championship.
“It’s my second appearance in the event and I am confident I can make it third-time lucky the next time.”
He added: “I was feeling good coming here and also felt my game was in good shape. But, on a course like this you don’t have to be far off line to be in some thick rough.
“Yesterday I was only in one bunker but today I was in two or three greenside ones and they were hard and firm after all the rain.
“This was a great opportunity to mix it with the big boys but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. However, I’m positive I’ll be back again.
“I’ve got a few things to work on but I am going away from here with my spirits high.”
His next event is the English Challenge at Stoke-by-Nayland, having earned a spot on that as the leader of the EuroPro Tour order of merit. “I can hopefully finish in top five on the money-list and then go to the European Tour School at the end of the year feeling confident,” he said.
“In golf you can’t let yourself feel down and I am determined to finish the year on a high.”
Meanwhile, Australian Adam Scott is not ready yet to call this year’s Open a two-horse race between himself and leader Brandt Snedeker – certainly not after Tiger Woods holed a bunker shot on the last.
Scott, out in front after his opening 64, responded to Snedeker matching that round by tucking in one behind with a 67. Woods is three further back.
“It’s a world-class leaderboard stacked up a few shots back and I think no matter what the conditions are one of those guys is going to have a good day and make up ground,” said the 31-year-old. “So we certainly have our work cut out to stay ahead of that pack.”
The two front-runners are both seeking their first major titles, but Scott has won the Players Championship – golf’s unofficial fifth major – and one of the sport’s world championships. “Why I’ve played good this week is kind of a culmination of everything I’ve done over the last couple of years,” he said. “I feel like this is the path I’ve been going down and it just happens to have happened here that I’ve put myself in a good position after two days at a major.
“I think it’s just the practice adds up and eventually pays off. If you’re playing good on Thursday and Friday and Saturday and you’re leading, you’re playing better than anybody else that week.
Former European Tour caddie Warren Bennett is through to the final two rounds as a remarkable comeback story continued at Royal Lytham.
The 40-year-old, leading amateur in the event in 1994, turned to bag-carrying after an injury-plagued career, but decided to give the game one more go.
He survived two stages of qualifying to play his first Open for a decade and with rounds of 71 and 70 is one over par at the halfway point.
“I’m really content and looking forward to the weekend,” he said. “I didn’t feel any nerves and my competitive spirit is still there. I don’t just want to make the numbers up.”