Ilkley golfer James Hepworth one step from Hoylake

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: James Hepworth finished in first place at regional qualifying at Moortown James Hepworth finished in first place at regional qualifying at Moortown

ILKLEY member James Hepworth is one step from competing in the Open after finishing first in regional qualifying at Moortown.

The Burley-in-Wharfedale player’s two-under-par 69 saw him claim one of the ten spots available for the final qualifying phase on Tuesday.

And having reached that stage six times before, the 39-year-old is hoping experience will pay dividends when a further three places at each of four venues are up for grabs for the main event at Royal Liverpool on July 17-20.

Hepworth, who was expecting Hillside to be his allocated course, has had several near misses in the past, including defeat in a play-off featuring Graeme McDowell, Simon Dyson and Robert Rock.

The former Bradford Golf Club junior, who is currently working as a teaching professional at Shay Grange in Heaton, was also leading at the halfway mark at St Anne’s Old Links in 2012 but a second-round 75 followed his opening 66 and a place at Royal Lytham eluded him.

Making it to Hoylake would be the ideal tonic as Hepworth looks to regain a European Tour card - which he held in 2004 and 2007 - later in the year at Qualifying School.

Will Whiteoak (Shipley) and Liam O’Neill (Cookridge Hall) failed to progress from regional qualifying at Clitheroe.

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