Goswick Golf Club in Northumberland has now gone into the record books as the first course in our region to host an Open qualifying competition. Goswick's club professional Paul Terras told Golf North East: "It all started in 2001 when we made a decision to change the course, basically to get more length on it with the intention of attracting a decent tournament. We didn't have Open qualifying in mind but a good North of England tournament.
"Goswick applied for and received a grant from the R&A and as a result of that we have made four green changes and four tee changes. And now 200 yards has been added to the course giving it a better championship length. Following completion of the changes, the R&A came back to see how the money had been used and they were obviously impressed with what they saw and as a result they offered us the Open qualifier."
In addition to the four new greens at the 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th holes, the changes also included new tee boxes at the 3rd, 11th, 13th and 17th.
Paul added: "The best improvement has been the 16th. It used to be a fairly bland hole and now it's a good 50 yards longer. A 431-yard par 4, with a much better shape and a slight dog-leg - depending on the wind, it can be a very good two-shotter."
The Goswick Links looked in fantastic condition and the club officials were clearly delighted with the overall presentation. Paul concluded: "Our course manager George Thompson is a very proud man today; it has always been his dream to get a day like this at Goswick. He's been here 42 years so it's been long overdue. And I think there will be spin offs from hosting an Open qualifier, hopefully we will attract other tournaments in the future."
On the day, a number of our local professionals played outstanding golf to move on to final qualifying although none, were fortunate to make it through to Royal Birkdale.
Results: 1. Jack Doherty (Picture Financial) 67 Qualified; 2. James Atkinson (A, Kendal) 68 Q, Iain Simpson (Fulford) 68 Q, Ryan Riley (Clayton's of Carlton) 68 Q; 5. David Clark (Morpeth) 69 Q, George Cowan (Westerhope) 69 Q, Hugh MacDonald (South Moor) 69 Q; 8. Vince Guest (Teesside) 70 Q, Miles Cunningham (A, Longniddry) 70 Q, James Harper (Seaton Carew) 70 Q, Keith Hamilton (A, Ayr Belleisle) 70 Q; 12. Graham Turner (A, West Linton) 71 Reserve 6, Alexander Culverwell (A, Dunbar) 71 Reserve 27, Michael Archer (Newcastle United) 71 Reserve 38, Edward Thomson (Senit Associates) 72 Reserve 59; 16. Chris Russell (Raw Golf Course Design) 72, Andrew Paisley (Matfen Hall) 72, Mark Lamb (A, Haddington) 72, Chris Harkins (A, Ayr Belleisle) 72, Chris McDonnell (Hexham) 72, Andrew Baston (Ponteland) 72, Callum Tarren (A, Dinsdale Spa) 72, Gary Donnison (Unattached) 72.
A - denotes amateur player.