GOLF: Eddie's ready for big test, but The Open would be a bonus not a priority

Bicester Advertiser: Eddie Pepperell Eddie Pepperell

Qualification for The Open Championship would be a bonus rather than a priority for Eddie Pepperell as he begins a key run of tournaments this week.

Oxfordshire’s top golfer, pictured, tees off in the Irish Open on Thursday, refreshed after a fortnight’s break from competition.

On top of the all-important prize money, which determines the European Tour rankings, there is an added incentive at Fota Island – three spots up for The Open at Hoylake next month.

To claim a place, Abingdon’s Pepperell would have to finish in the top ten and be one of the three highest finishers who have not qualified via other routes.

It is the same scenario at the French and Scottish Opens, but Pepperell is keen to avoid being distracted by the prospect of making his Open debut.

The 23-year-old, whose maiden major appearance came at the US Open last year, said: “It’s not a priority.

“I wouldn’t really care if I wasn’t playing in it, but it would be great to make it.

“My form is good and if I got in it would be great because it’s The Open.

“I think getting into the majors are a bonus at this stage.

“The first three years on tour in everyone’s career is all about learning and constructing your game.

“I’m in the middle of that period and I can feel my game getting better.”

Pepperell is hoping he can continue a fine run of results which has turned his season around.

After missing seven of his first nine cuts, the Frilford Heath golfer has reached the weekend in his last four events to climb the rankings.

As well as trips to Ireland, France and Scotland in the coming weeks, the important run also includes the BMW International Open in Germany.

Another handful of strong finishes would go a long way to securing Pepperell’s place on the European Tour for 2015, but despite the slow start he always had faith the upturn in results would come.

“I was expecting myself to do that,” he said.

“It certainly makes me feel happier in myself.

“I have just got to keep doing what I’m doing and not putting any extra pressure on myself.

“I know the courses and they suit me.”

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