JACK McDONALD is set to fly the flag for Ayrshire at the 152nd Open Championship at Royal Troon later this month after squeaking through the local qualifying tournament in dramatic fashion.

The Kilmarnock Barassie player was one of three to finish on four under par in qualifying at Dundonald last week.

McDonald, fellow Scot Daniel Young and Sweden’s Tim Widing were tied for fourth place at the end of the 36-hole qualifying competition, four shots behind England’s Sam Hutsby, with Angel Hidalgo and Liam Nolan tied for the runner-up spot on five under.

The final qualifying place went to McDonald after he holed a 25-foot birdie putt at the first play-off hole.

The 31-year-old, who carded rounds of 71 and 69, follows in his grandfather Gordon Cosh’s footsteps after he played in The Open in 1977.

McDonald said: “I felt nervous, obviously. All I was thinking was trying to hit a good putt and give myself a good chance and I was absolutely delighted that it went in.

“Going into this I just had a feeling. I remember playing in The Amateur in 2012 at Royal Troon and I was like ‘how good would it be to play in an Open there?’ And I just can’t believe that is going to happen now.

“It’s amazing and hopefully I can go there and play some good golf.”

Hutsby said: “I’ve missed out by a shot twice. It has always been a childhood dream to play in a major.
“To be a British player playing in your home Championship, I couldn’t have dreamt of that. I was working in a golf shop two years ago but I’ve put an unbelievable amount of hard work in and hopefully this is reward for the sacrifices I’ve made.”

The Dundonald competition was one of four qualifying events held across the UK last week, with others making it through to the Open including Justin Rose, who finished on eight under at Burnham & Berrow, England’s Matthew Southgate at Royal Cinque Ports, and Matthew Dodd-Berry at West Lancashire.

But there was to be no repeat of his 2023 heroics for McDonald’s fellow Ayrshireman Michael Stewart, who had qualified at Dundonald for last year’s tournament at Royal Liverpool; this time round Stewart was left out of contention after an opening round of 79, with a second 18 of 75 leaving him 10 shots over par and tied for 39th place alongside Jack Docherty of Rowallan Castle.

Scots who missed out on an Open place following the Dundonald qualifier included Dumfries’s Liam Johnston, who finished an agonising one stroke short of a play-off slot after a second round of 74, and Marc Warren, who carded a 36-hole total of 146 to finish tied for 14th.