Sheffield teenage amateur Matt Fitzpatrick’s bid for the Silver Medal at the Open Championship was given an unexpected reprieve as he made the Muirfield cut.
The 18-year-old was 40 places outside the cut mark when he finished his round at lunchtime after a second-round 76.
But afternoon scores went his way as he qualified for the weekend on seven over.
That was two behind fellow Sheffield golfer Danny Willett, who carded a 72 and also plays the weekend.
The fresh-faced Fitzpatrick, the youngest player at Muirfield this week, ended up making it with two shots to spare to boost his hopes of making this year’s Walker Cup team against the USA at Southampton, New York in September.
“I needed a good week,” admitted the youngster from the Hallamshire.
“And this has certainly given me the confidence that I can compete.
The Silver Medal is awarded to the highest-finishing amateur in the field.
Meanwhile, already the oldest winner in European Tour history, Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez now has the chance to become the oldest major champion as well in the 142nd Open Championship.
American Julius Boros has held that distinction since winning the US PGA Championship in 1968 aged 48, but 49-year-old Jimenez claimed the halfway lead at a parched Muirfield thanks to a second round of 71.
Jimenezcarded two birdies and two bogeys to finish three under par, one ahead of Worksop’s Lee Westwood, world number one Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson.
The hard and fast conditions claimed a number of victims, with Brandt Snedeker and Phil Mickelson four-putting the 15th and 16th greens respectively and Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts taking nine on the 15th.