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The 152nd Open

Regional Qualifying Preview


Players chase dream of reaching The 152nd Open

The Claret Jug sits in front of the clubhouse at Royal Troon

The road to Royal Troon hots up as close to 2,000 golfers prepare to compete in Regional Qualifying for The 152nd Open.

This year’s Regional Qualifying will take place at 15 of the most beautiful courses in Great Britain and Ireland on Monday 24 June.

Places in Final Qualifying will be up for grabs at Bearwood Lakes, Caldy, County Louth, Ferndown, Fulford, Frilford Heath, Goswick, Hesketh, Kedleston Park, Kilmarnock (Barassie), Minchinhampton, Moor Park, Northamptonshire County, North Hants and Rochester & Cobham Park.

Each will provide its own challenges but a few of the venues hold their own unique attachment to The Open. County Louth hosted The Irish Open in 2009, won by then amateur and future Champion Golfer Shane Lowry, while those playing at Moor Park will also be following in the footsteps of champions, with greats such as Seve Ballesteros and Arnold Palmer having played at the Rickmansworth course.

Stories will emerge from each and every venue, with the leading finishers at each event earning places at Final Qualifying on Tuesday 2 July. A minimum of 16 players in Final Qualifying will then make it to Royal Troon for The 152nd Open.

Royal Troon's 14th green during The 145th Open in 2016

A unique event with a great prize, Regional Qualifying welcomes everyone from young amateurs to veteran pros and influencers to athletes from other sports, all chasing the holy grail.

Among the eye-catching names looking to progress this year are content creators Peter Finch (Hesketh) and Rick Shiels (Caldy). 

Joe Retford could be one to watch at Minchinhampton having achieved his second course record a year ago at the Cotswolds venue, where he will be joined by former Somerset cricketer Peter Trego.

Teenager Sean Keeling returns to County Louth where he stole the show two years ago, shooting a seven-under 65 in the final group of the day to head the list of qualifiers, and will be joined by older brother Patrick. 

DP World Tour winner Robert Rock, who finished tied-seventh in The 139th Open at St Andrews and recently qualified for the US Open at Pinehurst, is among the contenders at Kedleston Park, while several recent stars of the Walker Cup, including Barclay Brown, Mark Power and John Gough, will also be looking to progress.

They will be hoping to be among the select few who realise the dream of teeing up at The Open while taking inspiration from the success stories of years gone by.

Top of the list of amateurs to have struck qualifying gold is Justin Rose, who finished tied fourth at Royal Birkdale as a 17-year-old in 1998, and Paul Dunne, who held the lead after three rounds at St Andrews in 2015.

More recently, Carnoustie witnessed one of the great qualifying stories when Ash Turner played in his first major in 2018.

Ash Turner swaps clubs with his caddie on the second hole during the first round of the 147th Open Championship

Turner was involved in a freakish accident at the age of one, when he fell into a fish tank and fractured his skull, leaving him with a rare form of cerebral palsy. There were fears he may never be able to walk properly again.

Incredibly, the 22-year-old from Lincolnshire fired three birdies and an eagle in his last five holes to qualify by finishing top of Final Qualifying at Hollinwell.

Andrew Wilson then produced the run of a lifetime to make it through Regional and Final Qualifying in 2019 before finishing tied for 32nd at Royal Portrush.

The 149th Open saw a number of players navigate both events, including Sam Forgan, who was the most prominent subject of our Road To The Open series in 2021, when the Felixstowe Ferry professional made it all the way to Royal St George’s. Forgan will have sights on Royal Troon when teeing off at Frilford Heath this year. 

Sam Forgan celebrates qualifying for The Open

Expect plenty of drama over the course of the qualifying events if last year’s offering is anything to go by. Connor McKinney and Graeme Robertson both survived a nerve-shredding play-off at Dundonald Links to make it to Royal Liverpool.

The reward for those who navigate Regional Qualifying is a trip to one of Burnham & Berrow, Dundonald, Royal Cinque Ports and West Lancashire for Final Qualifying.

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