Twenty English club golfers will tee it up at Carnoustie shortly before the world’s greatest golfers compete at The 147th Open in July.
They’ll be among the 42 men and women from across GB&I who will compete in pairs in the final of The R&A’s 9-hole championship. It takes place on Saturday 14 July and will played over the first four and last five holes of the Championship Course at Carnoustie.
The finish, over the 16th, 17th and 18th, is considered by many to be the toughest in golf and has created play-offs at the last three stagings of The Open. It’s where Jean van de Velde came to grief in the Barry Burn before eventually conceding the 1999 title to Scotland’s Paul Lawrie; and where Padraig Harrington twice visited the burn before triumphing in 2007.
The 20 English players will secure their places in club qualifying events. All clubs affiliated to England Golf are invited to run a 9 hole stableford qualifier before 22 June. They must be open to men, women, boys and girls who are club members with a CONGU handicap.
The finalists’ costs for travel and accommodation on Friday 13 July will be met by The R&A and they will also be entertained at a dinner on the Friday evening and at a closing lunch and presentation on Saturday after play.
The R&A and England Golf promote 9 hole golf as a way to play and enjoy the game in less time, both socially and competitively for handicap purposes. Competitors will also adopt Ready Golf in the final, which is designed to speed up play.
Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development at The R&A said: “Nine hole golf is continuing to grow in popularity among golfers so we are encouraging clubs throughout Great Britain and Ireland to offer men, women and juniors more opportunities to enjoy this shorter format of the game, both socially and competitively.
“Following the success of last year’s event, we are working with our affiliates in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to support more clubs holding qualifying events for their members with the incentive of playing one of world’s most renowned courses ahead of The Open.”
The Open Championship will be played at Carnoustie from Thursday to Sunday, 19-22 July 2018.
Carnoustie image courtesy The R&A