Home   Maidstone   Sport   Article

Bearsted golfer Matt Ford on qualifying for the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews

Matt Ford took inspiration from his family to qualify for The Open Championship for the first time in his career.

Ford will take his place among golf’s elite players at St Andrews this month after winning the final qualifying event at Prince’s Golf Club in Sandwich on Tuesday.

Matt Ford celebrates qualifying for The Open Championship with wife Suzie and children Teagan and Oscar
Matt Ford celebrates qualifying for The Open Championship with wife Suzie and children Teagan and Oscar

The 44-year-old from Bearsted finished two shots clear of the field on five-under to secure his place at golf’s most famous tournament for the first time.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Ford. “I’ve tried for over 20 years to get there and been close a few times but to finally get in is great.

“Open qualifying is hard, there was one extra spot this year which is good, but normally it’s three golfers out of 80-odd people at each of the four venues.

“The standard is always pretty decent as people have either qualified or they’ve already got a world ranking to go straight there. It’s always going to be a low score to get through so it’s hard.

“I’ve been a little bit unlucky over the years so you do wonder if it’s ever going to happen. There’s people that have played less golf than me and have got in The Open so you know all you have to do is play well on that day and you have a chance.

“I felt quite confident going in, for whatever reason, and now I’ve got this exciting opportunity to come.”

It proved a topsy-turvy final round at Prince’s for Ford, who was on course to qualify having reached five-under after eight holes of his second round. He then dropped four shots in quick succession before turning it around.

Perhaps some of that late inspiration came from children Oscar and Teagan, who watched Ford’s last six holes after finishing school.

“In previous years I’ve shot myself in the foot early on and left myself too much to do,” reflected Ford, who flew to Italy the next morning for a Challenge Tour event.

“The first round I was one-over early on but managed to shoot one-under, even with a three-putt on the last. To shoot under par on that first round gave me a good chance.

“Overall, you normally see people fall back a little bit in the second round because everyone’s obviously excited about getting in The Open so people make mistakes. After the first round, three-under was second and five-under was leading so I thought, if I can get to four or five-under, I’ll have a good chance.

“I played pretty nicely and got to five-under after eight holes and thought I was in a good position but I then dropped four shots in the next four holes and wondered if I had blown it.

“Golf’s a hard sport and these things happen and the mindset can be ‘have I blown it again?’. But I’ve been working hard on that side of things so was happy that I knuckled down and played nicely for the last six holes.

“I hit pretty much every green and gave myself some opportunities so four-under for the last six under that kind of pressure was the most pleasing thing.

“The children had school and my wife Suzie drove down after that, they got there in time for my last six holes. They were on the course when I made a double bogey trying to find where I was.

“It was nice for them to see it and I definitely seem to play well with them there.

“It’s good because they enjoy their golf and going up to St Andrews I think maybe they don’t realise - and I don’t realise yet - how big it’s going to be.

“They’re already thinking about which signatures they can get so it will be good for them, too.”

Ford missed out on playing in last year’s Open at Royal St George’s in Kent but he’s delighted that he’ll make his bow at St Andrews in Scotland.

“It would have been nice to play at St George’s last year but St Andrews is one of my favourite places in the world and for the 150th Open to be up there, everyone is raving about it,” said Ford.

“Just to play in an Open is going to be special but St Andrews is a special place and I just want to go there and play some good golf now.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More