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Johannessen and O'Neil through Stage 1

A first visit to the Scottish capital proved to be fruitful for Kristian Johannessen, a Norwegian teenager, as his tourist route towards a possible place in the Open Championship got off to a flying start in the regional qualifier at Bruntsfield Links yesterday.

While the Glasgow youngster Conor O'Neil set an early clubhouse target with a four-under 67, Johannessen swiftly made his own mark in Auld Reekie with a superb course-record eight-under 63 to lead the eight qualifiers who progressed to next Tuesday's final stage.

"I came over just for the chance; I'd never been to Edinburgh before, so it was nice to visit," said the 19-year-old, who produced a rousing run of five birdies in a row from the 13th and is now hastily organising a return trip to these shores for the next leg of the qualifying race.

"When is Final Qualifying?" he added. "Tuesday? Oh, Okay. We'll have to deal with that next. It's a nice problem to have."

O'Neil, the former Scottish Boys' No.1, is a member at Glasgow Gailes, one of the venues for next week's final qualifier, and he will head to Ayrshire in an upbeat mood. "I've hit a 64 off the white tees and 65 off the blacks, so I've obviously had some good days there," he said.

Graham Rankin, the former European Tour player, and Paul McKechnie eased through on 69s as did amateur duo, Colin Baird and Kevin Loughrie. Elliot Saltman grabbed the last spot in a four-man play-off.

Kris Nicol's trek from Fraserburgh to Dorset paid off when he qualified with a 70 at Remedy Oak. His fellow Scot, Jordan McColl, also progressed there with a 71 while Ben Collier, the former Scottish Boys' champion, came through at The London club.

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