Field of dreams in qualifying for the 144th Open
Regional Qualifying (RQ) is one of the great staging posts on the road to The Open and this year will be no different.
Hundreds of golfers from throughout the UK and beyond will gather at 13 venues on Monday 22 June around the country to compete for the chance to play alongside the greatest players in golf.
For touring professionals, elite amateurs and club professionals alike, Regional Qualifying (RQ) offers the chance to realise a lifetime ambition by competing in golf’s oldest Championship.
It is the beginning of a long road which this year leads to St Andrews and the 144TH Open, played from 16-19 July. At each venue approximately ten places will be on offer to progress to the Final Qualifying stage on Tuesday 30 June when 12 players across four venues will secure their places in the Championship at the Home of Golf.
In 2014, more than 1,400 golfers representing 29 nationalities took part in RQ which demonstrates the remarkable allure of The Open Championship.
John Singleton, a factory worker from Merseyside, made the headlines last year when he came through RQ at Mere and then Final Qualifying (FQ) at Hillside to secure his place in The Open at Royal Liverpool. He spoke of his delight and surprise at qualifying and said it was a “dream come true.” After a nervous opening round 78 at Hoylake he shot an excellent two-under-par round of 70 to finish on four-over-par. Unfortunately this was two shots over the cut line but it was still a highly creditable performance.
This year’s RQ promises to be another fascinating day where dreams can be realised or hopes dashed, as Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, points out.
“There is a tremendous sense of anticipation at RQ each year and the players know there is a huge opportunity to progress through to The Open. It is a massive incentive but it brings a great deal of pressure with it as well and there is always plenty of drama at the various venues. John Singleton’s performance last year in qualifying to play at Hoylake showed what can be achieved and I’m sure there will be many players looking to follow in his footsteps this year.”
There are three new RQ venues this year – Sandy Lodge, West Lancashire and Wildernesse which join Bruntsfield Links, Buckinghamshire, Hankley Common, Little Aston, Luffenham Heath, Mere Moortown, Northumberland, Remedy Oak and The Island as hosts.
In 2016, there will be changes to the venues with Burhill, Frilford Heath and Panmure joining the roster as Buckinghamshire, Bruntsfield Links and Hankley Commons’ terms come to an end.
For more information about RQ and FQ and the Open Qualifying Series please click here.