After 36 holes of Local Final Qualifying for the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield, David Higgins found himself in a sudden-death playoff with two other players for two spots in the game’s oldest major.
The 40-year-old Irishman’s hopes were dashed, however, when he realized he was carrying a 15th club during the playoff at North Berwick. Higgins may have put the extra club in his bag after he finished the two-round qualifier but before the playoff began.
The resulting two-stroke penalty made Higgins the odd man out in the playoff, as Gareth Wright made birdie and George Murray scored par to clinch spots in the Scottish field.
“Obviously, it’s magic to play in the Open and I’m really excited,” Murray told he R&A, who runs the Open Championship. “I do feel bad about what happened to David, but he was totally honest and came straight out with it when he realized his mistake.”
The trio of spots available at North Berwick were part of a dozen up for grabs on Tuesday.
At Gullane No. 1, Colin Montgomerie and Mark James failed to qualify. Montgomerie was 5 under par through 12 holes, but after a morning 69, his afternoon 76 left him out of the Open field.
“I threw it away – never mind,” said Montgomerie. “It’s not my schedule. I just played badly this afternoon. I didn’t get going at all. It’s very disappointing after being 5-under.”
2013 British Open Championship: Local Final Qualifying results (Top 3 players advance)
- Dunbar: Grant Forrest (a), John Wade, Shiv Kapur
- Guillane No. 1: Ben Stow (a), Oscar Floren, Matthew Fitzpatrick (a)
- North Berwick: Jimmy Mullin (a), Gareth Wright, George Murray
- The Musselburgh: Steven Tiley, Lloyd Saltman, Tyrrell Hatton