Birkdale is still the goal for Lancashire golf hopefuls

Fairhaven - venue for Open qualifying
Fairhaven - venue for Open qualifying
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Three Lancashire golfers have made another step towards making it to the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in July

Andy Palmer (Chorley) amateur Adam Stone (Lancaster) and Penwortham's Colin Maroney have made it to the next stage.

The trio will now take part in final qualifying on July 4.

They earned the right to do so by successfully claiming three of the six places on offer in regional qualifying over 18 holes at Fairhaven Golf Club.

Palmer and Stone both shot 69, three under par, which was sufficient as they finished in joint runners-up spot, three behind the winner Rhys Nevin-Wharton, from the Sandiway club in Cheshire.

Maroney's one under par 71 was good enough for him to get to final qualifying on July 4.

That will take place over 36 holes at five venues: Gailes Links, Notts Hollinwell, Hillside, Royal Cinque Ports and Woburn when Open spots will be very much at a premium and the competition facing them will be red-hot.

But to get this far is a major achievement in itself.

On Monday, 1,200 golfers at venues dotted up and down the country attempted and Palmer, Stone and Maroney were among a small band who achieved what they set out to do.

Eight players qualified via West Lancashire, headed by Timothy Ford, of Liverpool Golf Centre, who had the round of the day at that venue, three under par.

One of those who made it through at West Lancashire was Sean Towndrow, who recently won the County Championship.

The Southport and Ainsdale golfer is back playing after having a lengthy spell out of the action, suffering from cancer.

The Open takes place at Royal Birkdale from July 20 to 23.