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Auchterarder Golf Club’s Rory Franssen proved his readiness to take on some of the world’s best after a five-under par 66 at Close House saw him secure qualification in the number one position for the International Series England.

Franssen will now compete alongside the likes of Ryder Cup heroes Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter when the main event returns to the northeast between 17-20 August and will be hoping for a repeat performance with a US$2m prize purse to play for.

“I’m buzzing, I’m absolutely buzzing,” said the University of Missouri alumni after sealing victory. “It’s your dream to play against these guys [Poulter and Westwood] and to be able to do that now is going to be really cool. I’m looking forward to it.

“Without support from The International Series, I would have no opportunity to play in as big an event as this, which is huge for guys like me. I am sure that everyone here today really appreciates the opportunity this event has created.”

The field consisted of 144 professionals and amateurs looking to book return passage to Close House later this summer. Among them taking on difficult conditions in Newcastle Upon Tyne was former Sunderland A.F.C and Middlesbrough captain Lee Cattermole, who put his sporting prowess to the test in less familiar circumstances over the 6,813-yard layout.

The 35-year-old was, however, unable to break into the top-six qualifying spots, unlike England’s Rhys Thompson, who finished two shots off the pace in second.

Boldon Golf Club professional Thompson, who competes alongside Franssen on the Tartan Pro Tour, recently captured the Dundonald Links Classic title, and will relish the chance to add to his personal silverware collection.

He said: “It was a good round. I was bogey free and so am really happy with the performance, especially with how I’ve performed in the last two weeks.”

English counterparts Luke Joy, Adam Batty, James Wilson and Will Marshall complete the sextant making the grade over the Colt Course, each finishing in a tie for third on 69.