SO CLOSE: Darren Pearce made it onto the reserve list of players for the Senior Open at St Andrew’s
SO CLOSE: Darren Pearce made it onto the reserve list of players for the Senior Open at St Andrew’s

Barnard Castle Golf Club

BARNARD Castle pro golfer Darren Pearce narrowly missed out on playing in the Senior British Open for the second year on the trot.

Nevertheless, by qualifying as an alternative, he got to enjoy player privileges at St Andrews.

It followed eight days of successful golf, starting with qualifying for the semi-finals of the North West and North East PGA championship.

The quarter-final, at Slaley Hall Golf Course, Hexham, saw Mr Pearce take revenge against Craig Goodfellow who knocked him out last year. Mr Pearce won the matchplay competition 4-3.

A former winner of the competition, he will aims to reach the finals for a fifth time.

The following day he took a long drive up for the Aberdeen Senior Masters and earned a creditable 16th spot playing against a number of players who feature on the European Senior Tour.

He hit rounds of 71, 71 and 70 to end two over par on a course that was tough going.

Miguel Angel Martin won the tournament.

Old Well

The Senior British Open qualifier at Ladybank Gold Club followed. A field of 115 players vied for a qualifying spot. Mr Pearce, he hit a level par 71 taking him into a play-off for an alternative qualification spot.

He hit a birdie on the second hole to claim the sixth alternative spot for th British Senior Open.

Sadly, only one player dropped out, which meant he did not get to compete.

He said: “This year I was gutted, just because it was St Andrew’s. It has been so near, yet so far.

“St Andrew’s is fantastic – the course is unique and the history and tradition of the place. The greens are vast, with great undulations.”

He did, however, get to practice with the likes of Sir Nick Faldo.

The Seniors Open Championship was won by Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Mr Peace concluded: “I am absolutely shattered, but if I had qualified, the adrenalin would have kept me going.”