Golf: Local challengers miss out on Open chance
10th July 2019
MORE than 100 golfers came to Wildernesse to take part in the fifth regional qualifier for the Open Championship at Portrush on July 18-21.
In addition to the top regional players, there were also entrants from Europe, Africa and America among the 116 competitors vying for the 13 places available for the final qualifying round at Prince’s Golf Club in Sandwich.
Stephen Shephard, a 22-year-old amateur from Florida, produced some spectacular golf and won with a course record score of 64, which included only 25 putts.
Oliver Sly from Knole Park came second with an excellent round of 66. Liam Burns of Chislehurst, Jensen Hull from Hever Castle and Simon Khan, who won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in 2010, all tied for third place with scores of 68.
Craig Sutherland, who plays at Poult Wood near Tonbridge, also secured a slot at the Sandwich finale with a round of 69.
There were nine players tied for 12th place with a score of -1, all competing for the final two qualifying spots which were decided by a three-hole play-off.
Hull went on to record another sub-par round of -1 at Prince’s but it was not enough to secure a place in the showdown at Northern Ireland.
Sly and Sutherland also missed out with rounds of +6 on the par-72 course, while Burns went round in +7.
Wildernesse’s chairman David Evans commented: “We are honoured to be one of only 13 clubs in the UK and Ireland to host an event of this stature.
“We hope this will encourage more people to visit us and explore the wonderful course and facilities at Wildernesse.”