The Open 2012: Ian Keenan achieving his dream at Lytham

Merseyside's Ian Keenan has said he is "achieving one of his life's goals" by playing in the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

Keenan will be playing in his first major event after narrowly missing out on a place at this year's US Open.

"The Open has always been special to me," he told BBC North West Tonight.

"I've tried eight or nine times (to qualify). I've been close before and missed by one or two shots. This time it worked out and I'm glad it did."

Keenan, who to book his place at Lytham, tees off alongside Ted Potter, Jr. and Andrew Georgiou at

And it is quite a turnaround for Keenan, who has been attached to the Royal Liverpool Golf Club at Hoylake for almost 20 years.

His experiences of the Challenge Tour, the second tier of European golf, last year made him realise how difficult it is to make it to the very top of the sport.

"All I'd achieved was the right to spend £30,000 playing golf," said Keenan. "There aren't too many people on that tour who make that money back, never mind the rest you need to earn a reasonable living.

"But no-one has forced me to do it. I do it because I love it.

"It's a lot tougher than people imagine, but it's also great fun.

"It's obviously tough on families because you're away so much and the rewards aren't there until you get to the bigger leagues.

"It's been tough and it's taken it's toll on me and my family, so I'm so grateful for everyone's support."