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Open success leaves Dale feeling buoyant
4:38pm Thursday 26th July 2012 in Sport
THE confidence he has gained from his debut appearance at one of golf’s major tournaments has confirmed to Dale Whitnell that he can compete in the sport’s top echelon.
The 23-year-old from Tiptree beat some of golf’s superstar names to secure a finish in the top 60 at the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes on Sunday.
Despite featuring for Great Britain and Ireland in the 2009 Walker Cup as an amateur and securing a top four finish at a PGA European Tour event, this was arguably the greatest achievement in the Five Lakes Golf Club member’s career.
In making the halfway cut to feature in the final two rounds, Whitnell achieved something that players of the calibre of former US Masters champion Phil Mickelson, world number ten Justin Rose and a host of former Open winners had been unable to do.
And performing on the biggest stage like that has proved to Whitnell that this is the level he can be playing at week-in and week-out.
He said: “There wasn’t a lot of wind on the first three days and the course didn’t play that difficult, but the wind really got up on the final day.
“I didn’t play to my best on that final day, but I made the cut and can take a lot of pride from that.
“It was an unforgettable experience to be competing with the best players in the world and it was a big step up for me to be competing under that pressure.
“But I knew I hadn’t come along to just make up the field and I made the cut.
“By doing that, I confirmed to myself that I am good enough to compete at this level and that’s important to me.
“I know I will come away from this tournament having beaten a lot of big players and there’s nothing you can say that’s bad about that.
“My time will come and I know I’m good enough to be up alongside these guys.”