Open glory the goal for Fylde Coast hopefuls

Bidding for Birkdale
Bidding for Birkdale
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Fylde coast golfers will be out in force on June 26, with The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale their ambitious objective.

They will be among scores of players assembling at Fairhaven Golf Club that day for regional qualifying, the first tentative step towards claiming a prized place at Royal Birkdale a month later.

Fairhaven is one of 13 venues up and down the country which will host regional qualifying.

The top qualifiers from each course will go through to the next, far more difficult final qualifying stage at four venues, among them West Lancashire, on July 4.

Three Fairhaven golfers will be in action at their host club on Monday – Darren Carlisle, Ewan Patterson and their amateur club-mate Gary Jones. Amateurs Callan Barrow and Nicholas Peoples will represent Royal Lytham and St Annes, while Simon Wilson flies the flag for Lytham Green Drive.

Richard Bowman, who plays for Herons Reach, will be joined by amateur Sam Stuart (St Annes Old Links), Simon Lucas (Garstang), Dave Corsby (Fleetwood) and Curtis Dean (Blackpool North Shore).

Dean is hoping to make it to final qualifying for the first time and one factor in his favour is that he has a liking for Fairhaven.

He said: “It is a course that suits me and I won a few competitions there when I was a junior.”

Dean is coming to Fairhaven on the back of a recent win. He teamed up with Ryan O’Neill to win the Lancashire county four-ball championship at Crompton and Royton, the pair prevailing after a play-off against close rivals Darren Hopwood and Colin Maroney.

Dean is very busy competing as well as teaching all ages groups at North Shore, and before Fairhaven he will bid to hone his competitive skills in events at Brough and Darwen.

One player with a famous fondness for Birkdale is Justin Rose, but before he returns to the course where he finished fourth as an amateur in the 1998 Open, Rose is targeting a second US Open title at Erin Hills, starting today.

Rose heads to Wisconsin after finishing runner-up to Sergio Garcia in this year’s US Masters and said: “I feel like this tournament could be the first since then where I really feel motivated to try to get my game peaking again.”