GOLF: Belt misses out on place at The Open

Alex Belt
Alex Belt

Bridlington’s Alex Belt fell just short of securing a place at The Open in challenging conditions for the final qualifying round on Merseyside.

In torrential rain and gusting winds, the 30-year-old finished on level par, three shots off what he needed to book his spot at one of golf’s most prestigious competitions.

The top of the leaderboard at Hillside

The top of the leaderboard at Hillside

It was the closest Belt has got in seven attempts and he said there were positives to take from the experience, despite not achieving the result he had set out for at Hillside.

“It wasn’t easy, but I showed good mental strength and stayed within touching distance of the leaders despite not playing particularly well.”

A birdie on the second settled any early nerves, but Belt eventually had to settle for a one-over-par round in the morning.

As the weather worsened after lunch, he began his second round with two birdies in the opening three holes.

He was never in the leading pack but was not completely out of contention until a double bogey on the 12th gave him a mountain to climb in the final stages.

“It chucked it down in the afternoon and we had a few downpours with really gusty winds,” he said.

“Hillside was a tough course. The fairways were tight and there were a lot of fairway bunkers so it wasn’t worth taking too many risks, because you knew that one bad shot meant your chance had gone.

“I just couldn’t get momentum going when I needed two or three birdies in a row.”

Belt was full of confidence as he headed to Merseyside after winning the Yorkshire PGA Championships on Friday.

He carded a 66 in Thursday’s opening round to put himself three shots clear at the halfway stage.

That lead was stretched to five shots on the second day at the Mid Yorkshire Club, as he hit a 69 to see off the challenge of nearest rivals Matt Daley of Hainsworth Park and Abbeydale’s Gareth Davies.

Speaking before the Open qualifying, Belt said: “Things are going well. I have always been a player who has been quite good at maintaining a run of form. But I have a great team of people around me and in the past I have been good at accelerating form, and I feel there’s still plenty in the tank.”

He thanked his sponsors Lloyd Dowson, Nicholas Belt Estate Agents and Pineapple Joes for their ongoing support.