Rye on the Open road

Rye Golf Club, one of four courses being used for Local Final Qualifying for The Open Championship
Rye Golf Club, one of four courses being used for Local Final Qualifying for The Open Championship

A small slice of arguably the most prestigious tournament in world golf will come to Rye.

Rye Golf Club, located on New Lydd Road in Camber, is one of four venues being used for local final qualifying in The Open Championship tomorrow (Tuesday).

Seventy-two players will battle it out over 36 holes at the historic links course with the leading few joining the likes of world no.1 Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and new US Open champion Rory McIlroy at Royal St George’s, Sandwich, from July 14-17.

As well as players from all over Great Britain, the field at Rye will contain golfers from Spain, The Netherlands, the United States, Sweden and Italy.

Probably the biggest name heading for Rye is Jarmo Sandelin, a 44-year-old Swede who played in the 1999 Ryder Cup and who has five European Tour titles to his credit. He will tee off at 7.15am (10th) and 12.45pm (1st).

Selected others include Phillip Archer, an Englishman who was a shot away from becoming the first player to card a 59 on the European Tour at the Celtic Manor Wales Open in 2006 and who won on the Challenge Tour in France earlier this month.

Also at Rye will be Zane Scotland, who became the youngest ever Englishman to qualify for The Open in 1999, and Tom Sherreard, the Kent amateur who finished tied 19th at Royal Birkdale three years ago.

Despite the cosmopolitan feel of the line-up, there will be some local interest provided by Cooden Beach professional Paul Nessling. The first group will go out at 6.30am and the last threeball will finish around 12 hours later.

Measuring more than 6,300 yards and with a measly par of 68, Rye has to be one of the toughest courses in Britain. It held the English Amateur Championship in 2009 and each January hosts the President’s Putter between former Blues golfers from Oxford and Cambridge universities.