Open dream is no ‘Mere’ formality

Charles Durnian
Charles Durnian
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Fylde golfer Charles Durnian is hoping to uphold a family tradition when he attempts to qualify for the Open Championship on Monday.

He will be teeing up at the Mere course in Cheshire with scores of other hopefuls taking part in the regional qualifiers.

It’s the first stage in the hugely demanding process of getting though to The Open proper, which takes place at Muirfield from July 18 to 21.

And Durnian is a family name that still stands proudly in Open record books.

Back in 1983, Charles’ father Denis completed the opening nine holes of the Championship in a score of just 28. It remains the lowest nine in championship history and would have been a 27 had not Durnian senior two-putted from 10 feet at the ninth.

It happened before Charles was born but he is fully aware of his dad’s remarkable score to the turn.

Charles, who is attached to the Lytham Golf Academy and is also a member at Fairhaven, said: “It happened in 1983 and I was born in 1990, and so I don’t remember it. But when The Open was last held at Royal Birkdale, I walked round the course with him and he probably talked me through every shot he played that day!

“It was probably the highlight of his my dad’s career.

“He is always on the end of the phone if I want advice, though Daniel Webster (the head professional at Old Links) is my coach.”

Charles, 23, continued: “It was my first choice to play in the qualifiers at Mere over Clithero. It is a course that suits me because I hit it long, which is what you need there, and I have an okay wedge game.” It is the first time in three years that Durnian has tried to qualify for The Open after a spell of illness.

And there is still a great deal of work to do even if he is among the qualifiers at Mere.

The following phase is local final qualifying, when the final Open spots go only to a select few. Charles is teamed up in a three-ball at Mere on Monday with his Fairhaven club-mate Ewan Paterson.

Among other local golfers teeing up on Monday are David Dorans (St Annes Old Links), Stuart Priestley and Harrison Proos (Myerscough), Lee Mayers (Fairhaven), Henry Tomlinson (Royal Lytham) and Mikiel Tcohbanian (De Vere Herons Reach, Blackpool). They are drawn at Clitheroe.

Former Blackpool FC defender Colin Greenall (St Annes Old Links) plays at Mere along with Simon Wilson (Fairhaven). Sam Crowther and Charlie Hoyle (Old Links) are at Moortown with Fleetwood’s Davd Corsby.