Former World Cup winner Peter Fowler, now 48, made it through Open Championship qualifying in Australia for the third time in four years today.
Fowler then admitted it was because: “I’ve seen the dark side of golf and I don’t want to go back there.”
While 16-year-old Japanese wonder boy Ryo Ishikawa disappointed in the 36-hole event at The Lakes in Sydney, finishing only just 41st of the 55 players, veteran Fowler won a place at Royal Birkdale along with compatriots Andrew Tampion, Brad Lamb and Ewan Porter.
“I thought I’d messed it up on the back nine. I was struggling a bit, it’s a long day,” said Fowler.
But he got the birdie he needed on the last to avoid a play-off and join Lamb and Porter in second place on five under par, three behind Tampion.
Fowler added: “It was all or nothing. It just shows what you can do when you put your mind to it.
“I was without a card in Europe in 1997, ’98 and ’99 and had a really bad stretch. I don’t think I made a cent in 1997 and that’s pretty much hitting rock bottom.
“A mentor and my best friend both said to change things or pack it in and they were right. Spending so much time away from home I had to make things worth it, so I gave myself a pretty good talking to and things changed.”
For Tampion, 23, it was a case of third time lucky after he failed to qualify at Kingston Heath two years ago and Sunningdale last summer.
Porter won the event last year, but 30-year-old Lamb can now look forward to his first major championship.
Ishikawa, youngest-ever winner of a Japan Tour event when he was only 15 last year, was in joint 10th spot after a morning 72, but then crashed to a 78.