Storms hit Rye Open qualifier

Rye Golf Club, one of four courses being used for Local Final Qualifying for The Open Championship
Rye Golf Club, one of four courses being used for Local Final Qualifying for The Open Championship

Rye’s slice of The Open Championship was hit by the stormy weather on Tuesday.

The action spilled over into a second day after the action at Rye Golf Club - one of four venues being used for local final qualifying - was suspended for nearly four hours due to thunder and lightning.

The field was called off the course at about 1.15pm and did not return until 5pm. The players were due to get back on at 4pm only to be called back in again immediately because of further electronic activity.

All the players were able to complete their 36 holes on Tuesday, but a two-man play-off for the third and final spot among the world’s elite at Royal St George’s from July 14-17 had to be held over until Wednesday morning.

Walker Cup squad member Tom Lewis was the winner by three strokes after carding rounds of 63 and 68 for a terrific eight-under-par total of 128.

The remaining two qualifiers were 23-year-old Oxford Golf Centre assistant professional Adam Wootton and Mark Laskey, who earned his berth in a play-off against the Netherlands’ Inder Van Weerelt.

Former Ryder Cup star Jarmo Sandelin, from Sweden, and Zane Scotland, who made the cut at St Andrews last year after an Open Championship absence of 11 years, were tied for seventh on one-under.

Eighteen of the 72 starters carded sub-par first rounds in sunny and calm conditions, but only nine broke par in the second 18 holes as the wind got up during the afternoon. Twelve players were in red figures at the end of their 36 holes over the testing par 68 Camber links.

Cooden Beach assistant professional Paul Nessling was tied 36th on 143 after rounds of 70 and 73, while Camber-based Liam Harper was tied 16th at Royal Cinque Ports following scores of 74 and 71.

The full article will appear in tomorrow’s Rye Observer.