GOLFERS Jonathan Thomson and Nick Poppleton will realise childhood dreams next week when they play at The Open.
Rotherham's Thomson and Wath's Poppleton are among only a dozen to come through qualifiers to take their place in next week's showpiece at Royal St George's.
Thomson finished second at Hollinwell, his new club, while Poppleton ended three shots clear of the rest of the field at West Lancashire.
Poppleton admitted to nerves in the closing stages despite holding a handsome lead.
He added: “I have achieved a childhood dream and a dream of my late grandad Frank by qualifying for The Open. I'm chuffed to bits.”
Thomson said: “I’m absolutely delighted. I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet but I’m sure it will.”
Poppleton shot superb rounds of 65 and 69. His first round included eight birdies while his second round, with more pressure, was equally impressive given the circumstances.
Thomson also shot 65 and 69.
His 69 came in the morning round with a cold putter and, realising he needed to make some birdies in the second round, he went out in two under par.
That is when he had a reality check, set himself a goal, and pressed the accelerator, making birdies on the 11th, 12th, 14th 15th and 17th, to close on -10 after a superb back 9 of 31.
For both players, the opportunity to mix with the biggest names in golf is thoroughly deserved.
Thomson, nicknamed ‘Jigger,’ first picked up a club at Rotherham Golf Club and overcame a battle with leukaemia before winning a place on the European Tour.
At 6ft 5in, he will probably be the tallest man inside the ropes at Royal St George’s.
He added: “I’ve never played at St George’s so it will be a new one for me, a new challenge. It’s all great experience and I’m absolutely buzzing.
“I’ve been to The Open a few times with my dad as a spectator and always watch it on TV. It’s been a childhood dream to step on the first tee of a major so it’s one hell of a day to remember.”
Poppleton added: “I have experience of St George’s because I played there in my amateur days. I’m sure it will be a lot different this time but no matter what happens it is going to be a great experience.”
Tee times and pairings for the opening two rounds will be announced on Tuesday ahead of the start next Thursday.