Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter will return to the scene of his best ever finish in the Open Championship after making it through the final qualifying round for Royal Birkdale.
The 12-time European Tour winner was one of 15 players who made it through to the 146th Open later this month.
Playing in front of a large gallery at his home course of Woburn on Tuesday, Poulter returned rounds of 70 and 68, but he thought he had missed out.
The 41-year-old three-putted the par-five seventh, his 34th, but an up and down from a bunker on the last for par earned him a spot at one of the biggest events on the sporting calendar.
It means a return to Royal Birkdale, nine years on from when he finished runner-up to Padraig Harrington in 2008.
“Job done,” said Poulter. “Obviously going back to Birkdale after what happened in 2008 is special.
“You know I thought I had that 15-foot putt (on the 72nd) to maybe win or get in a play-off and then my Irish friend (Padraig Harrington) decided to go bananas on the last five holes.
“It was a great week, my best in a major. All my family and friends were there to see me play and after I finished Katie told me she was pregnant with Lily, so it was happy days that week.
“I would say Birkdale is my favourite Open venue because of 2008 and I’m looking forward to competing there. It’s going to be a busy run. It will be my fourth tournament in a row but it’s about managing my energy levels. But as soon as I get there I will be pumped for the week.”
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