Yesterday was Regional Qualifying for this years Open to be played at Lytham St Anne’s near Blackpool. I chose to try and qualify at The Mere, a lovely course located close to Manchester and a course I have played many times.
I started off my day at 11.34 from the first tee and with the temperature starting to rise it was turning into a good golfing day. A solid tee shot down the middle of the 1st set me on my way, which I followed up with a good 3 wood just short of the green. My pitch in was too aggressive and just rolled onto the back fringe up against the collar of rough. I putted from here and the pace of the green took me by surprise as it rolled 5ft past which I rolled in for an opening par. A good tee shot off the second with 3 wood left me in position, which I didn’t take advantage of, as I blocked my 5 iron approach. The ball came to rest a couple of inches from the bunker and with one foot in the bunker and one out, I chased a sand wedge up the green, which carried on rolling to 12ft behind the flag. I hit a lovely putt in to the centre of the cup for another par.
On to the 3rd and I hit a solid 5 iron to 3ft behind the flag after pitching just a couple of inches away from landing straight in the cup. I had slippery left to right putt which I rolled into the middle of the cup for a nice birdie. I pulled my tee shot off the fourth into a fairway bunker and then I came up just off the green. With a wedge in hand, I hit a lovely chip and run that started right of the flag and slowly took the break and started tracking towards the hole before finding the bottom of the cup for another birdie. A good drive down 5 and solid approach left me with a good chance at birdie that I left a little short, but rolled in the par putt. A perfect drive down 6 left me with 165yds to the pin, I hit a 7iron a little left of where I wanted and the wind knocked it further left and just inches into the rough left of the green. I left my chip from around 25ft, 5ft short and missed the par putt. A pulled drive off 7 found the fairway bunker, from here I decided to lay up short of the green and pitched on to the green. I had a par putt of around 15ft which broke heavily from left to right, I hit a solid putt and watched as it tracked towards the hole, only for it dive across the front of the hole and lip out. I moved on to the 8th and found the middle of the green with my tee shot, but 3 putted for bogey.
I made par on 9 after hitting three good shots to the green and two putting. I blocked both my tee shot and second shot on 10 and was left with a delicate bunker shot that I nearly played perfectly and was left with a tap in for par. Two good shots down 11 and my birdie putt somehow stayed out, even though I would have sworn it was in. I hit a poor shot on 12 and tried to play too cute of a lob and left it short of the green, from here I made up and down for bogey and dropped to +2 for the round. A good drive on 13 was followed by a well struck approach that just went over the back into thick rough below the green, I hit a great little chip to inside 3ft which I knocked firmly into the back of the cup. The 14th was a good birdie chance after hitting my tee shot to around 18ft left of the flag, unfortunately I couldn’t covert the putt as I was to tentative and left it short. I bogied the 15th after a good drive and a pitch that didn’t find the correct tier and misjudged the speed and came up 3ft short. Even though I felt I hit a good putt, it slipped right of the hole for a bogey. A good drive down 16 was followed by a 4 iron onto the front of the green which I two putted for par.
I thought I hit a good tee shot down 17 but it just ran into the semi rough down the left side but with the pin on the front right of the green it left me with a good angle at the pin. I hit a good shot over the flag but it flew too far and released down the green and I was left with 80ft for birdie. I misjudged the break and was left with 9ft for par, which burnt the edge of the hole, but failed to drop. The last hole of the day and I knew an eagle was the minimum requirement on this reachable par 5, an aggressive tee shot left me with a 4 iron in to the green which caught the front bunker. From here I hit what I thought was a very good bunker shot only to see it had come up 12ft short, after reading the putt I rolled it in dead centre and signed off for a 74 which meant I missed out by 2 shots and by 1 shot for a reserve spot for next weeks Final Qualifying. It is very disappointing to miss out, but there are many more tournaments to play and good scores to shoot in the future.