Bell rues late tee slot at qualifying

Golfer Rachel Bell
Golfer Rachel Bell

GOLFER Rachel Bell believes her tee-off time was one of the crucial factors in missing out on a spot at the British Open.

ell, from Kilham, finished five-over par at the final qualifying round at Caldy, on the Wirral last Monday.

That meant she missed out on a spot at last weekend’s Open at Royal Liverpool by two shots.

The weather conditions proved to be against her and Bell said: “We were all hoping to get an early tee time because the forecast in the afternoon was for gusts of 35mph and rain.

“Unfortunately, I got one of the last tee times.

“At Caldy, holes three to nine are completely exposed to the elements along the coast.

“The wind took a couple of my shots and I nearly lost my ball.

“Believe it or not, despite being six-over after nine, I was hitting the ball really well- the wind was just making scoring a lottery.

“I knew if I just kept with it, I could still qualify because the back nine holes at Caldy are much more sheltered and inland as opposed to along the coast.

“It was actually possible to hit the ball close enough for a birdie chance, whereas on the front nine we were struggling to keep the ball on the correct fairway.

“I played with Tania Elosegui, my friend from Spain, who has also played in the Solheim Cup team. She is an awesome player.

“But between us, it took until the 16th hole for one of us to get a birdie - totally crazy. That’s how bad the weather was.

“Coming back I had a quite a few birdie putts - one lipped out.

“And on the par five 18th I had a 50 foot putt just off the green for eagle.

“The putt hit the flag and instead of dropping in, just sat on the edge of the hole for a tap in birdie.

“I missed qualifying by two shots. Of course, it’s disappointing not to qualify, but I’m philosophical about it.

“I had my chances, but when it’s one round all or nothing, you have to make the most of every chance you get.”

Bell flies to the Azores next month for her next tournament, the LET Access Series.

Earlier this week she was in Skipton to support the On Course Foundation which aims to introduce injured servicemen and women to the game of golf.