Open dream still on

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport -

An ea­gle three on the last earned Chart Hills young­ster Mark Collins a place in Fi­nal Qual­i­fy­ing for The Open for the fourth suc­ces­sive year, at Wilder­nesse Golf Club in Sevenoaks on Mon­day.

The 21-year-old for­mer Kent am­a­teur ti­tle win­ner fin­ished tied third on one-un­der-par 71 with Daniel Gar­ner (Rom­ford) and Luke Bangerter (Red­hill Golf Cen­tre) in the re­gional stage.

He will now be among 72 starters at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal next Tues­day.

Three play­ers com­pet­ing in Fi­nal Qual­i­fy­ing will book their place at Royal Troon (July 14-17).

Swe­den’s Adam Osth and an­other am­a­teur, Chris Cot­ton, from Sedle­scombe near Hast­ings, fin­ished joint-win­ners with twounder-par 70s.

Collins’ out­ward 39 in­cluded three birdies, he bo­geyed the 10th, be­fore three suc­ces­sive birdies, and four pars left him one over go­ing to the par five 18th, his im­pres­sive fin­ish see­ing him home in 32.

Collins was watched by his father, Peter, who said of the ea­gle fin­ish: “I think it was one of the best holes he has ever played.”

“He was one of the early starters, and was on the fifth when play was sus­pended due to a wa­ter­logged course, fol­low­ing heavy rain be­fore re­sum­ing at 2.30pm.”

Collins will be among those tee­ing up at Royal Cinque Ports on Tues­day when Luke Spooner (Sun­dridge Park) and Jay Tay­lor (Pin­heiros Al­tos Golf Re­sort, Por­tu­gal) clinched the fi­nal two spots fol­low­ing a seven-man play­off held over to Tues­day.

Collins’ club­mate, reign­ing Kent cham­pion Dan Brown, missed out with a three-over 75, with the third Chart Hills rep­re­sen­ta­tive Daniel Ben­nett fin­ish­ing seven-over on 79, along with Ash­ford head pro Tom Much­more.

Jamie Guppy, of Lit­tle­stone, carded a nine-over 81, while Ash­ford pro Liam Harper was 13over on 86.

Collins and Brown are among the line-up in the Brabazon Tro­phy which started at the Lon­don Golf Club yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day). Eng­land in­ter­na­tional Al­fie Plant from Sun­dridge Park, and Fred­die Price from Royal Black­heath com­plete the Kent quar­tet.

Past win­ners in­clude Scot­land’s Sandy Lyle and South African Charl Schwartzel.

From left, Gary Kerry, Gary Fagg (pres­i­dent), Gill Nunn and men’s cap­tain Mark Purkiss

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