Sandy Lyle’s Open career ended with a brilliant birdie on the 18th which left the former champion on cloud nine.
A second round of 76 at Carnoustie meant Lyle missed the halfway cut for the ninth time in his last 10 appearances, but the 60-year-old signed off in style by holing from 25 feet on the last.
“That’s a great way to finish,” said 1985 champion Lyle, who pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and waved it to the crowd before pretending to dab away a tear.
“I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th.
“It was not an easy second shot from the right-hand side of the fairway. There’s not much to land the ball on.
Coming in from the right-hand side like I was, it was quite a challenge. But to make birdie was extra special.
“I managed to stay away from crying, but definitely a lump in the throat, yeah. Definitely.”
Past champions can play in the Open until they are 60 and Lyle could still qualify for a return by winning next week’s Senior Open at St Andrews, but the likelihood of this being his last appearance meant he was given the honour of hitting the opening shot on Thursday.
“In 40-odd plus years I’ve played in the tournament, to have the pleasure of doing the opening tee shot was quite special to me,” Lyle, who made his Open debut in 1974, said. “It shows that they care and they appreciate what I’ve done over the years.
“There’s always a chance I could play my way back into the tournament. I will try. I won’t totally, totally give up. But it seems like it’s the last Open for me as far as turning up. I’ll have to work to get back in again.
“I have no regrets. I’ve had a good run. If qualifying is up here in Scotland and I’m living up here, I might just give it a run in the next few years. That would be it.”
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