KEVIN Garwood was last night cursing his luck after ‘one bad shot’ blew his chances of Open qualification.
The Parkstone touring professional carded rounds of 72 and 73 for a respectable top-10 finish at West Lancashire yesterday.
But with just three places available from each of the four qualifying courses, it left Garwood four shots short of the mark.
However, it could have been so much better for Garwood, who was on track for a top-three finish with just three holes remaining in the 36-hole qualifier.
”I was five-under-par standing on the 16th tee before my drive found thick rough,” explained Garwood, who finished up with an eight on the par-five hole.
Despite a desperate search, his ball was declared lost as a place in the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes, later this month, disappeared.
”I’m absolutely gutted,” said the 26-year-old former Dorset amateur star. “I had played well all day until one bad shot cost me my chance. It’s a shame because driving is normally one of the strongest parts of my game.
”However, once I sit down and reflect on the day, I’m sure there will be a lot of positives to take away, but at the moment I’m just disappointed with my finish.
“I’ve proved to myself that I am capable of competing at this level. I just need to be playing more competitive golf,” added Garwood, who has struggled to raise enough sponsorship to play regularly on the Europro Tour.
New Zealand’s Steven Alker won the West Lancashire qualifier on seven under, while four players on five-under-par were involved in a play-off for the last two spots.
Former US Open champion Michael Campbell was among the big names to miss out, finishing one shot behind Garwood.
Meanwhile, Garwood’s fellow East Dorset professionals Lee Thompson and Luke Joy also missed out on their chance of an appearance on the major stage.
Dudsbury’s Thompson, who made the cut in the 1999 Open at Carnoustie, carded rounds of 74 and 72 for a two-over-par total at Hillside – eight shots off the qualifying mark in joint 18th place.
“I enjoyed it and the course was fair,” said Thompson. “I just putted badly and didn’t take my chances when I had them. The only two dropped shots in the afternoon were three-putts and you just can’t afford to do that with so few places available.”
The 40-year-old touring professional is now focused on the West Region order of merit race. He is currently in the lead, following a second-place at Bowood last week.
Broadstone’s Joy was one of the last players on the course at Southport & Ainslie, teeing off his second round Open qualifier after 4pm.
But the former Dorset and England junior international’s chances of qualification were as good as over following a six-over-par 78 in the morning.
Joy, who has completed a five-year golfing scholarship in the USA, carded a second-round 76 for a 10-over-par total.
All three players qualified for the final qualifying stage by finishing in the top-12 at the regional event at Ferndown last month.