Bullard just fails in Open dream

Ex-footballer misses qualification for Muirfield

Bob Warters's picture
Tue, 25 Jun 2013

FORMER Wigan, Hull and Fulham footballer Jimmy Bullard, who is looking to build a new career as a pro golfer, was one of 1,300 amateurs and professionals aiming to pursue a dream yesterday - to compete in the Open at Muirfield in July.

But sadly the bubbly ex-midfielder, who cost nearly £10million in transfer fees and earned £50,000 a week while playing for Hull in the Premier League, narrowly failed to realise his dream to play in the same event as his heroes Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia.

"Imagine that! Playing with Tiger, oh mate, that’d be awesome!" said Bullard before competing at alongside 100 other hopefuls at the London Club, one of 14 regional qualifying venues around Britain and Ireland.

His +6 round of 78 was four shots outside the qualifying mark, while Spaniard Javier San Felix and Dartford amateur Michael Saunders topped the field with rounds of 70.

Bullard, who is a member at The Wisley, will now have to pursue his dream on the EuroPro Tour which may not provide him with the income he has enjoyed but at least it gives him a direction in life.

He told the Daily Mail: "It’s not about the money. It’s so hard when you play football for a long time and all of a sudden you’ve got no direction.

"You’ve got no team, no manager, no chairman. You haven’t got a buzz in your life like you once had. It’s cut short so sharp, it’s strange, a weird feeling and can make you be quite down at times. But this is brilliant.

"My main reason for being here is to get a bit of direction. Since I finished in football I’ve had no sport in my life, no football. I’ve always been geared towards something for the weekend, always had competition," explains Bullard, whose 16-year career was cut short by crippling injury.

At the other end of the scale former BMW PGA champion Andrew Oldcorn took a step nearer playing in The Open again by winning the Bruntisfield qualifier with a round of 68 - one of around 130 who made it through.

Other regional winners were: Abridge - Mark Lesley (Brocket Hall), 64; Buckinghamshire - Zane Scotland (Woodcote Park/ {Princes) 67; Clitheroe - Marcus Armytage (Howley Hall) 66; East Sussex National - James Watts (Kingsway) 69;Remedy Oak - Mike Joy (Broadstone) 69; Hankley Common - James Rutherford (Knebowrth), Jimmy Mullen (Royal N.Devon) 69; Little Aston - Tom fleming (Frilford Heath), Chris Dougall (Stoneligh Deer Park) 68; Mere - Paul Grannell (Vale Royal Abbey) 68; Moortown - Darren Leng ( Far Grange Park) 68; Northumberland - Paul McKechnie (Braid Hills) 69; Luffenham Heath - Matthew Cort (Rothley Park) 68; The Island (Ireland) - Neil O'Brien (Old Conna) 70; The London Club - Javier San Felix (Spain), Michael Saunders (Dartford) - 70.



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