Hastings ace drawn with Ryder Cup captain

Paul Nessling will play alongside Thomas Bjorn in final qualifying for The Open.
Paul Nessling will play alongside Thomas Bjorn in final qualifying for The Open.

Golf professional Paul Nessling is set to tee off alongside Europe’s captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup next week.

Hastings-based Nessling, of Cooden Beach Golf Club, has been drawn alongside Thomas Bjorn in final qualifying for The 147th Open at Prince’s Golf Club, Sandwich, on Tuesday.

Bjorn - the most successful Danish golfer ever with 15 European Tour titles and 21 professional wins worldwide - will lead Europe in their quest to regain the Ryder Cup against the United States at Le Golf National, near Paris, in late September.

The 47-year-old finished tied second in The Open in 2000 and 2003, and at the US PGA Championship in 2005, and achieved a top eight finish at The Masters in 2014.

As well as Bjorn, Nessling will play alongside another fairly high profile figure in the form of Simon Khan. The 46-year-old Englishman has two European Tour titles to his credit - the 2004 Celtic Manor Wales Open and the 2010 BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

The threeball will begin their first round from the 10th tee at 7.40am and their second round from the first tee at 1.25pm.

Another local player, Ben Evans, will also play in the company of a big name at the same event.

Staplecross-based Evans, who has achieved top 15 finishes in the last two European Challenge Tour events, is in the same group as two-time major champion Retief Goosen.

The 49-year-old South African won the US Open in 2001 and 2004, topped the European Tour order of merit in 2001 and 2002, and was in the top 10 of the world rankings for more than 250 weeks between 2001 and 2007.

Evans, Goosen and Alfie Plant - who won the Silver Medal as the leading amateur at the 2017 Open - will begin their opening round from the first tee at 7.50am and their second round off the 10th tee at 1.35pm.

Prince’s is one of four venues around the country being used for final qualifying and the leadng three players from each will join the world’s finest, including reigning champion Jordan Spieth and former winner Rory McIlroy, at Carnoustie in Scotland from July 19-22.

Nessling booked his place in final qualifying by finishing tied runner-up in the regional qualifying event at Wildernesse Golf Club, Sevenoaks, on Monday.

He carded a four-under-par round of 68 - featuring seven birdies, including four in a row from the 11th - to claim one of the 14 spots available in final qualifying from that venue. Khan, incidentally, was tied eighth at Wildernesse with a two-under-par 70.

A few other local players were also in action at Wildernesse. Mathew Andrews (Highwoods) was tied 31st on one-over-par, Michael Farrier-Twist (Sedlescombe) tied 39th on two-over-par and Colton Alleyne-Davis tied 91st on 10-over-par.

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