Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal still has a chance to make his 22nd appearance at The Open despite three late bogeys in his first round of the 36-hole International Final Qaulifying event at Sunningdale today.
Olazábal came out of the blocks superbly to reach five under par after 14 holes, but the 46 year old Spaniard had to settle for a two under 67 on the New Course.
That was one stroke worse than Europe’s victorious Captain of two years ago, Colin Montgomerie, like Olazábal seeking to qualify for a 22nd Open as well as a first Major since the 2010 US PGA Championship, who shot a three under par 66 over the New Course.
A total of 96 players were battling for ten spots at Royal Lytham next month and Olazábal still found himself in a tie for eighth as he turned his attentions to the more famous Old Course.
"It's disappointing and just a shame. You need a bunch of birdies," he said.
"But that's the story these days. I see sparks of good play, but I'm letting too many shots leak away."
Early leader was England's James Morrison with a brilliant six-under 63, with Ross Fisher matching his six under par tally with a 64 over the Old Course.
Morrison was off in the third group before 7am, but setting his alarm for 4.15 hardly mattered to the 27-year-old - he had been woken up "three or four times" by his 12-day-old son Finley.
Morrison, yet to play The Open, began his second round with another birdie - his eighth in 19 holes - and at that point led by four.