Two rounds to Sandwich

Pablo Larrazabal of Spain celebrates after winning the 23. BMW International Open 2011 golf tournament in Eichenried near Munich, southern Germany, on Sunday, June 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Pablo Larrazabal of Spain celebrates after winning the 23. BMW International Open 2011 golf tournament in Eichenried near Munich, southern Germany, on Sunday, June 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
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FAIRHAVEN golfer Lee Mayers mixes it with some of the big guns of the game tomorrow, when he continues his ambitious quest to win a place in the Open Championship field at Royal St George’s in Sandwich, Kent.

He is taking part in final qualifying over 36 holes at Royal Cinque Ports, which will test his mettle to the limit.

But it proved a trial of strength to reach this stage at all.

In regional qualifying at the Clitheroe course, Mayers’ round of 73 put him in a ten-man play-off.

There were six places available for final qualifying in a sudden-death format.

Three players made bogey at the first play-off hold and so were eliminated, while one got a birdie which saw him through.

That left six golfers competing for five spots, one of whom lost out with a bogey at the third play-off hole.

The others all made par, including Mayers, to go through to Kent by the skin of their teeth.

The 25-year-old amateur, a supervisor for a Blackpool windows firm, said of his experience at Clitheroe: “It was very nerve-wracking!

“I will have to play the best golf of my life to get through tomorrow. But as people have been telling me, I have as good a chance as anyone else.”

Mayers is coached by Fairhaven professional Andrew Lancaster and is taking part in Open qualifying for the first time.

Mayers travelled down early to Royal Cinque Ports in order to play a practice round and get a feel of the venue.

Four courses will stage final qualifiers tomorrow, though only 12 of the 288 golfers taking part will make it to the first tee at Sandwich on July 14.

n Marathon man Pablo Larrazabal beat fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia at the fifth play-off hole to capture his second European Tour title in Munich.

The 28-year-old’s victory in the BMW International Open came only 20 days after he lost at the sixth hole of sudden death in an Open Championship qualifier at Sunningdale.

Now Larrazabal will be going to Sandwich after all – and so will Garcia, whose runner-up finish earned him the other spot up for grabs off a “current form” mini money list.

After two years in which he slumped from second in the world to outside the top 80, Garcia began his revival by coming seventh in the US Open.

But, after making a birdie on the 72nd to force extra holes, he lost when he three-putted the same green an hour later.

Larrazabal said: “Last week we lost my grandad, the captain of the family, and this is for him,” he said. “Beating one of my heroes when I was growing up is just a dream.”

Garcia, 31, has not missed a major since the 1999 Open at Carnoustie.

He said: “Making The Open was definitely one of the goals. Unfortunately Pablo was just a little bit better but overall I am pretty satisfied.

“I am sure we can learn some good things and move forward.”

n Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson finished one stroke ahead of Ryan Moore and John Rollins at the Travelers Championship to claim his maiden win on the PGA Tour.

The 36-year-old shot 66 in his final round to reach 20 under with just one bogey in his 72 holes in Cromwell, Connecticut.

His hopes of becoming the first PGA Tour winner to go through the tournament bogey-free since Lee Trevino in 1974 were dashed at the tenth yesterday.

n Yani Tseng gave a blistering performance to win the LPGA Championship by ten strokes.

Chinese woman Tseng dominated the second major of the women’s season as a second 66 saw her finish 19 under at Locust Hill, New York.

Her total equalled the record for an LPGA major as the 22-year-old became the youngest player to win four majors.