The 146th Open takes place at Royal Birkdale between July 16th and 23th this year and over two thirds of the field are already taking up pre-allocated places, but the R&A have set up a complicated and elaborate matrix of criteria for the remaining third, sixteen of which come from the regional and final qualifiers right here on our doorsteps.
On a beautifully clear summer day, the regional qualifiers were present at Wildernesse Golf Club in Seal on Monday, with over 100 players starting from 7.00am seeking just the eight places through to final qualifying on July 4th. Ten local golfers, including four amateurs took on the field of visitors from around the South-east plus numerous players from abroad, including France, Australia and America.
Amateur Adam Tillman will be disappointed not to have made the final qualifying cut after a superb round of 71 placing him tied for 10th place. However Tillman, who plays for Knole Park in Sevenoaks, finished the day on top of the local pack after a fine display on the back-nine including three birdies. Todd Adcock from Cherry Lodge Golf Club in Biggin Hill also finished strongly with a birdie on the 18th to give him a round of 73 just behind Tillman.
David Green, Wildernesse’s Pro golfer, sadly ended his day with a double-bogey on the 17th to finish on two over par, placing him tied for 32nd. Joining Green on 74 for the day were Jake Oudes, also from Wildernesse, Sam Statham (Knole Park) and Gary Gilligan (Lingfield Park). Further back in the field were Ben Flint (Broke Hill) on 75, Philip Beever (Wildernesse) on 77, Danny Jones (Wildrenesse) on 81 and Elliot Owens (Hever Castle) on 83.
Michael Saunders (unattached) won the day with a round of 68 including seven birdies, with all eight regional qualifiers coming from England.