Harper outside Open places

Liam Harper
Liam Harper

Golf professional Liam Harper lined-up in local final qualifying for The Open Championship yesterday (Tuesday).

The Camber Sands-based player was drawn at Southport & Ainsdale along with the likes of 2004 Volvo PGA Champion Scott Drummond, 2009 BMW International Open winner Nick Dougherty and 2010 US Amateur Champion Peter Uihlein.

He finished tied 55th on a seven-over-par total of 151 after rounds of 75 and 76. Harper had three birdies and just two bogeys in his first round, but a quadruple bogey eight on the 17th was hugely damaging.

Harper, of the Homelands club in Ashford, was level for the front nine in round two with one birdie and one bogey, yet four-over for the back with two bogeys and a double bogey.

Three players from Southport & Ainsdale made it through to The Open itself at Royal Lytham & St Annes from July 19-22 when they will join the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

It was the second successive year Harper had made it to local final qualifying because he lined-up at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal last summer and performed pretty well.

The 19-year-old certainly got there the hard way this time, though, because he finished in a six-way tie for seventh in regional qualifying at East Sussex National.

With only nine places available for local final qualifying, those six men - who all carded rounds of 72 - had to contest a play-off for the last three spots.

Harper was among the unlucky three after parring the play-off hole all five times he played it and was reserve 17 for local final qualifying, but a series of withdrawals led to him earning a spot in the field.

See Friday’s Rye Observer for the full article.