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Best bits from the weekend
James Robinson eating a sandwich

Regional Qualifying for The 149th Open was action-packed. From West Lancashire to St Annes Old Links, and from Prince’s to Hollinwell, there were wonderful stories abound. Check out the best bits from Regional Qualifying here after two days of golf (and an unscheduled extra couple of hours on Monday morning) in which over 1,000 golfers competed with a dream to make Final Qualifying and play in The Open.

You can also follow the drama of Final Qualifying via our live blog, which will appear here from 6:15am BST on Tuesday.

Road To The Open Success

One of the top stories of the weekend was the progress of four golfers featured in The Road to The Open series on YouTube. While YouTube star Peter Finch and The R&A's own Chris Lewis fell just short, James Robinson and Sam Forgan played superbly and progressed through Regional Qualifying. Both players shot stunning 67s, Robinson at St Annes on Saturday and Forgan at Prince’s on Sunday, and impressed mightily with their assured play.

Robinson, who is a professional at St Annes and played in The Open in 2018, will be hoping to repeat his feat from three years ago, while Forgan, who has come within a couple of shots of The Open on multiple occasions, will be looking to break his duck on his Road to The Open. Check out both players’ first episodes in the series above and below this text, and be sure to see how both perform on Tuesday in Final Qualifying with our live scoring updates.

St Annes madness

There were a number of play-offs across the two days, seven in fact from eight separate Regional Qualifying events, but none compared to the St Annes play-off of Sunday night and Monday morning. A total of 19 players incredibly made it into a play-off for seven spots, and the excitement that seemed to be in store certainly arrived. Four players earned a spot in Final Qualifying with birdies after one hole, with 14 remaining in the hunt for the last three spots.

Eventually, we arrived at the ninth - for the fifth hole of the play-off - in near darkness, where the five remaining players, vying for two spots, played stunning approaches. The play-off was eventually postponed until 8am the next morning due to a lack of light, meaning three players returned the next day to fight it out for one final spot. That place was taken by Aiden Hooson after a monumental effort, nearly 24 hours after he had originally teed off in his Regional Qualifying round.

Balls on the green at St Annes 9th

Five balls on the ninth green at St Annes in near darkness

Crowe and White’s crazy days

As well as Hooson, two players in particular on Sunday had days to remember. Ross Crowe, playing at St Annes, began his final round at 6:30am, and hit the very first tee shot of the entire day’s play. Over 15 hours later, he had secured his spot in Final Qualifying after progressing as part of the monster play-off. And while Crowe’s long day was a slog, Philip White at Hollinwell produced an inspiring comeback.

Rolling along beautifully at five under par and leading, White seemed assured of qualification through 12 holes. But two straight bogeys preceded a horrendous quintuple-bogey nine on the 15th. Now two over, it seemed White could no longer qualify, but in a show of tremendous mental strength, he made two birdies in his last three holes and managed to sneak into a play-off, where he eventually qualified. On Sunday, the golfing world witnessed a fine display of resilience and mental strength from both Crowe and White in Regional Qualifying.

“You get the feeling driving in down that nice long drive that something special is going to happen.” Peter Trego

Peter Trego’s Open experience

Possibly the most famous name outside the world of golf competing in Regional Qualifying was Nottinghamshire cricketer Peter Trego, who competed at Hollinwell on Sunday. Trego shot a six-over-par round in the afternoon, but thoroughly enjoyed his experience trying to qualify for The Open.

“This was my fourth time at Hollinwell,” Trego said, “but it feels totally different with all The Open banners everywhere. You get the feeling driving in down that nice long drive that something special is going to happen.”

“It was certainly a great experience. Even with all my past experiences of sport, it was totally different on that first tee. It took me three or four holes to settle down. In the afternoon, the wind got up and it made it a tough challenge. I just had to scrap all day and I’ll take a lot away from it.”

“I’m still signed to Nottinghamshire [County Cricket Club] and hope to continue my career but every opportunity I get I’m going to try and play tournament golf, at as high a level as I can. Looking at the 2021 calendar, I’ve got my eye on qualification school for the Euro Pro, which I believe is the first or second week of October. I’ll give that a go and hopefully play well enough to get a category on the Euro Pro and play as many tournaments as I can.”

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