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Bland honoured to get Open under way

Bland honoured to get Open under way

Richard Bland enjoyed yet another incredible moment in a remarkable 2021 Race to Dubai as he hit the opening tee shot to get The Open Championship under way at Royal St George's Golf Club.

Richard Bland

The Englishman was back on the European Tour after becoming the oldest ever European Challenge Tour graduate in 2019 and made the most of his chance by claiming a maiden victory at the 478th attempt and at the age of 48 at this season's Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett.

He then held the 36 hole lead at the U.S. Open Championship and now, playing in two Majors in one season for the first time in his career, he was handed the honour of getting play started on home soil.

"It was very special, very nerve-racking," he said.

"I was OK when I got on to the tee. A little bit nervous because you're just about to start a Major Championship but then, the announcer said: 'right, it's 30 seconds guys'. You're like: right, this is it, this is what it's all about.

It was a tremendous honour. Great for the R&A to put that on me. It's something that I wasn't expecting at all

"The nerves definitely sort of cranked up a little bit and was glad to hit one in the fairway.

"It was a tremendous honour. Great for the R&A to put that on me. It's something that I wasn't expecting at all."

Bland fired an opening level par 70 which left him three shots behind playing partner and early pacesetter Andy Sullivan.

The four time European Tour winner carded six birdies and three bogeys and was glad with his day's work.

"Got off to a really good start today by holing I think it was 30 feet on the first for birdie," he said.

"Holed another good one on four. It just sort of got my round off to a nice start.

"I was hitting a lot of good shots in the middle there, a few mistakes, but felt like I was in control of my game and then finished really well at the end.

"I felt really quite composed today in terms of tee to green, felt good and holed some good footage out there, which is something we've been working quite hard on the last few weeks to get better at.

"It's nice to see it coming to fruition on the golf course."

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