On-song Kieran Cantley eyes Silver Medal bid
Kieran Cantley is hoping to emulate fellow Scot Sam Locke by producing some amateur dramatics in an Open Championship.
Locke won the Silver Medal for leading amateur in last year’s Claret Jug joust at Carnoustie and now Cantley is aiming for a crack at the same prize.
The 21-year-old Liberton player passed the regional test for next month’s event at Royal Portrush with flying colours by winning at Goswick.
He now progresses to the final qualifying at Fairmont St Andrews next week, hoping to match Locke’s success in that 36-hole shoot-out last year when the Scottish event was staged at The Renaissance Club.
“Yeah, I would definitely say that I feel inspired by what Sam achieved in last year’s Open,” admitted Cantley after carding a seven-under-par 65 to come out on top in the Northumberland event.
“I have played with him a lot and you definitely think to yourself, ‘if he can do something like that, then so can I’.”
Cantley is through to the final qualifying at the first attempt, having carded halves of 33-32 in his blistering round at the Berwick-upon-Tweed venue. He sparked the effort with birdies at the third, fourth and sixth going out, before picking up shots at the 11th, 14th, 17th and 18th on the inward journey.
“It was a pretty good round,” admitted Cantley, who combines his golf with a job at Loanhead-based golfclubs4cash. “I got a bit lucky with the weather as the rain started when I was coming down the last.
“Having said that, I was never in any danger off the tee, finding position A most of the round and also made some up and downs when I needed to.”
Cantley is in the GB&I squad for the Walker Cup, but saw his hopes of making the team for the match in September suffer a big blow as he failed to make the knock-out phase in last week’s Amateur Championship at Portmarnock.
“It’s not been a great year for me, unfortunately, so it was good to show I can shoot a low score when it counts as there would be nothing bigger than playing in The Open,” he admitted.
Neil Fenwick made it a 1-2 for Lothians players at Goswick as he finished as Cantley’s closest challenger on 66.
“I played very nicely today, hitting it very solid,” said the Edinburgh man, who is attached to Dunbar. “My game is in great shape and I’m looking forward to a strong season.”
Cantley will be joined at final qualifying by two other Lothians amateurs after Tantallon’s Richard Gill and Murrayfield man Ali Thurlow both progressed at Panmure.
Gill, a former Scottish Boys’ Championship runner-up, finished joint-fourth at the Angus venue after carding a one-over-par 71 that was set up by three birdies in the opening four holes.
And he was joined among the 10 players to go through by Thurlow as he signed for a 72 to finish in a four-way tie for seventh spot. That group also included Paul McKechnie, the Braids Hills Golf Centre-attached pro who came through the qualifying to tee up in the 2014 Open at Royal Liverpool.