Liam gets Open second chance

Liam Harper
Liam Harper

Golf professional Liam Harper received a late call-up to local final qualifying for The Open Championship.

The Camber Sands-based player appeared to have narrowly missed out after being denied in a play-off in regional qualifying on Monday, last week.

That meant Harper was reserve 17 for local final qualifying, but a series of withdrawals led to him getting a call last Friday morning telling him he was in.

Local final qualifying will take place over 36 holes at four courses in the north west on Tuesday with the top three players at each venue advancing to The Open itself. Harper has been drawn at Southport & Ainsdale.

It’s the second successive year Harper has made it to local final qualifying because he lined-up at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal last summer and performed pretty well.

The 19-year-old certainly got there the hard way this time, though, because he finished in a six-way tie for seventh in regional qualifying at East Sussex National.

With only nine places available for local final qualifying, those six men - who all carded rounds of 72 - had to contest a play-off for the last three spots.

Harper played the 18th no less than five times in the play-off between 6.40pm and 7.50pm and made five pars having been unable to convert a trio of birdie chances.

“It was a really good day, although it was quite draining at the end,” he said. “I’m playing really well, but not quite scoring as good as I’m playing which is quite frustrating.”

Harper, who plays out of the Homelands club in Ashford, is a former England under-16 and under-18 squad member, and represented England at the European Boys Team Championship in Turkey two years ago.