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Friday, 22 August 2014

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Golfer Will Bowe closing on place in Open at Royal Lytham

Cumbrian golfer Will Bowe has stolen a march on world superstars Colin Montgomerie and José Maria Olazábal by edging a step closer to next month’s Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

Will Bowe photo
Will Bowe

While Montgomerie and Olazábal are still sweating after being knocked out of the qualifiers, Bowe booked his place at Tuesday’s final stage at St Annes Old Links.

Bowe coolly rolled in an eagle putt on the third extra hole of a play-off at the regional qualifier at Goswick to put himself just one step away from lining up at the Open.

Montgomerie and Olazábal now need at least a top-five finish at either the French or Scottish Opens in the forthcoming weeks to play at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

It will be the fifth time Bowe, who earlier this year won a record fourth Cumbria Matchplay crown, has reached the final qualifier.

The 29-year-old Workington golfer, who runs his family’s beef and dairy farm at Winscales, hopes he can now hold his nerve and secure a place at the game’s oldest Major.

“It would be a dream come true to reach the Open,” he said.

“I’ve made a lot of attempts in the past so hopefully this can be the year I do it. I should have done it the year the Open was at Royal St Georges but I missed out by two shots. I’m really looking forward to the final qualifier, and I feel as if I can compete with anybody. It’s just getting everything to gel on the same day, but anything can happen.”

In Monday’s regional qualifier, Bowe made a good start with a steady level par through six, before a birdie at the par three ninth.

A good 15ft birdie putt on 11 put him two-under, before he followed up with a 10ft par putt on the 12th.

But his good work was undone a little on the par three 13th where the tee shot missed the green and he was unable to chip and putt for par.

He then posted a 30ft birdie putt on the par three 15th was followed by a 10-footer at the last for a final three-under-par score of 69.

It put him in third place on the leaderboard but as the day progressed more sub pars were completed.

It was then announced by the Royal & Ancient that only seven qualifying places would be available, leaving Bowe to fight it out in a sudden death play-off alongside young Scottish amateur Cameron Marr, Mark Kerr and former Walker Cup player Michael Stewart.

A birdie at the first extra hole from Kerr saw him through at the first hole, while pars from all other players saw them advance to the second play-off hole, the par five 17th.

Bowe found the putting surface with a superb shot to about 12 feet, before his 12 footer to qualify then slipped agonisingly past the hole.

But the birdie was secured, while Marr and Stewart then holed their putts to ensure the play-off went to the third extra hole.

Marr and Stewart both just missed the greens with their tee shots, before Will produced the best shot of the play-off when he rifled a three wood to around 15ft.

Good chip shots from Stewart and Marr put them in line for birdies, leaving the stage clear for Bowe to coolly roll in an eagle putt to the delight of himself and 200 spectators.

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