Craig qualifies for the Open Championship

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THAME golfer Craig Hinton is preparing for the biggest round of his life after qualifying for the Open in two weeks time.

The Oxfordshire Golf Club star hit an impressive five-under-par to win the final round of qualifying on Tuesday and grab a spot at the Open.

It is the first time that Hinton has ever qualified for a major competition and the news is still sinking in.

He said: “This is as big as it gets for me. I didn’t really know how to feel – it still hasn’t really sunk in yet.

“I haven’t really got any expectations for it, I will just take it as it comes.

“Just competing against some of the world’s top players will be great, obviously I will be nervous but hopefully I will be able to cope.”

The day is set to be a family occasion as his relatives and close friends have already confirmed they will be at the Royal St George on July 13.

Hinton will now spend the next two weeks getting used to his new golf clubs, which he used for the first time during qualifying.

He said: “I had to use my new clubs for the first time but I think I played really well, – I was solid all day.”

The 22-year-old trains at the Oxfordshire five times a week when he is at home, but has spent a lot of the year away for competitions in Portugal, Wales and Scotland.

He is now hoping that the Open will kick-start his golfing career as he aims to turn pro by the end of the year.

He has tournaments in October and November and all being well, he will get his European score card by Christmas.