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Wessex woes for Watson and Bevan
MICHAEL Watson and Jon Bevan’s hopes of playing alongside the world’s best in this year’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes ended in disappointment in yesterday’s local final qualifying stage.
The Wessex Golf Centre duo travelled to West Lancashire and Hillside respectively but neither of them was able to finish in the top three at either course.
Watson came closest to pulling off the feat by carding a first round 69 after recovering from a double bogey on the 15th with back-to-back birdies over the next two holes.
That score was enough to put the 42-year-old tied second at the halfway stage but unfortunately he was unable to keep the momentum going as his challenge eventually came to an end with a 77, which took him down to two-over par and tied 25th overall.
As for Bevan, he ended up nine-over and tied 47th overall at Hillside following scores of 75 and 78 after a disappointing start to his opening round saw him drop three shots over the first seven holes.
That double disappointment comes off the back of a fabulous victory for Watson in the Microsoft Masters at Bowood where he finally ended his West Region order of merit hoodoo in a tense head-to-head battle with Martyn Thompson.
Despite an uninterrupted decade of success in regional events, winning the money list and capturing the national PGA Play-offs finals three years ago, the Weymouth ace had not won a major event since beating Devon’s David Sheppard in the final of the now defunct Matchplay Championship in 1998 at The Wiltshire.
His only previous strokeplay success was in the BMW at Dudsbury three years earlier so he was understandably emotional when he sunk the winning putt, which saw him follow an opening four-under-par 68 with a solid 72.
Commenting on his triumph at Bowood, Watson said: “I played nicely over the two days but limped home after driving into bunkers on the last two holes.
“I love the course which puts a premium on accurate driving. It was set up beautifully and I am always comfortable there.
“I have usually played consistently and have done well in the order of merits, so it’s surprising this is my first win for 14 years.”
Bevan also took part in the Microsoft Masters where he finished eighth following rounds of 74 and 71.