Open 2017: Richard Bland hopes return to form will set up run to Royal Birkdale

Richard Bland

Richard Bland hopes he has found some timely form ahead of July’s Open at Royal Birkdale after recent struggles.

The Southampton-based golfer finished joint second at the BMW International in Munich, having shared the lead with Sergio Garcia after three rounds.

Bland, 44, had his best European Tour performance of the year in Germany and feels his game is coming together.

“If I can keep improving my game in the month ahead, the sky’s the limit,” he told BBC Radio Solent.

Bland has already qualified for The Open by virtue of finishing in the top 30 on the 2016 European Tour money list after a strong finish to last year, but had struggled so far this year before Munich.

“I’ve got a big confidence boost after Germany,” he said. “Hopefully I can take a step forward next week and really look forward to Royal Birkdale.

“There’s four huge events before The Open, so it’s a big four to five weeks that could be massive and really set the season up great.”

Bland will also hope to tap into some of the current feel-good factor around Hampshire golf after Harry Ellis secured his place at Royal Birkdale by winning the British Amateur Championship on Saturday.

“I’ve heard lots about his game and that he’s doing his scholarship in the States,” he said. “Hopefully we can set up nine holes with Justin Rose on the Wednesday before the Open.

“It would be nice to see how he plays and that was incredible achievement for him to come from four holes down with five to play to win the amateur championship.”

Bland’s only previous Open experience was in 1998, also at Birkdale, when he missed the cut.

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Travelers Championship: Jordan Spieth wins after play-off

Jordan Spieth

Travelers Championship, fourth round
-12 J Spieth (US), D Berger (US); -10 C Hoffman (US), D Lee (NZ); -9 P Casey (Eng), B Weekley, P Reed (US)
Selected others: -6 R McIlroy (NI), P Harrington (Ire); Level: R Knox (Sco)
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Jordan Spieth won the Travelers Championship by edging out Daniel Berger in a play-off with a chip shot from the bunker for his 10th PGA title.

The 23-year-old becomes the second youngest player after Tiger Woods to reach the landmark total since 1945.

Berger began three shots behind Spieth but hit birdies in his last six holes for a three-under-par 67.

Spieth, Masters and US Open champion in 2015, saved a par 70 with a superb chip that set up an easy putt on the 18th.

The American then holed from the same bunker in the first round of the play-off to go one shot ahead.

Berger had a chance to level and force another hole with a challenging putt, but the 24-year-old shot wide.

“It was a battle. I got really lucky, but that was awesome,” said Spieth.

“The putter kind of let me down a little through the round but Michael (Greller, Spieth’s caddie) kept me in it when I was losing it out there.”

Berger described the closing stages as “Jordan doing Jordan things”.

“I’ve played great today, but obviously I wanted to win. I’m kind of speechless right now,” he added.

England’s Paul Casey scored a one-under-par 69 for a share of fifth, while Northern Ireland’s four-time major winner Rory McIlroy capped a mixed showing over the four days with a six-under-par 64 for joint 17th.

Defending champion Russel Knox of Scotland scored a final-round three-over-par 73 to finish level overall.

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World number 837 Romero birdies 18th to win BMW International

Andres Romero

BMW International final leaderboard
-17 A Romero (Arg); -16 R Bland (Eng), S Garcia (Spa), T Detry (Bel); -14 R Karlberg (Swe) -13 T Fleetwood (Eng), R Paratore (Ita)
Selected others: -11 H Stenson (Swe); -9 J Donaldson (Wal) S Henry (Sco); -8 A Chesters (Eng); -6 A Wall (Eng)
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World number 837 Andres Romero won the BMW International as England’s Richard Bland tied for second in Munich.

The Argentine, 36, shot a seven-under-par 65 to finish 17 under and win his first European Tour title for 10 years.

Bland, 44, who shared the overnight lead with Spain’s Sergio Garcia, carded a three-under 69 on Sunday to finish one shot adrift of Romero.

Masters champion Garcia and Belgium’s Thomas Detry also finished on 16 under at the Golfclub Munchen Eichenried.

Romero’s only other European Tour win was the Players Championship of Europe in 2007, the year he finished third at The Open.

Three strokes off the lead before the final round, he made seven birdies, including one at the 18th to win.

Four players were tied for the lead at one stage, but Detry was unable to match Romero on the final hole.

Bland, who has never won on the European Tour, carded five birdies but dropped a shot on the par-five sixth and another on the 17th.

He was playing in the final pairing of the day alongside Garcia, who was competing in Europe for the first time since he won the Masters in April.

Both needed to eagle the last hole to force a play-off, but Garcia narrowly failed to chip in with his third shot before Bland’s 15-foot putt slid wide.

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Travelers Championship: Jordan Spieth maintains his lead heading into final round

Jordan Spieth

Travelers Championship, third round
-12 J Spieth (US); -11 B Weekley (US); -9 D Berger (US); -8 C T Pan (Tpe), D Lingmerth (Swe), P Casey (Eng),
Selected others: -4 P Harrington (Ire); -3 R Knox (Sco); Level: R McIlroy (NI);
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American Jordan Spieth will take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.

Overnight leader Spieth, the 2015 Masters and US Open champion, carded a four-under-par 66 to move to 12 under.

Fellow American Boo Weekley, ranked 390 in the world, hit five birdies on the back nine in a round of 65 to storm into contention, before Spieth birdied the last to hold his lead.

England’s Paul Casey carded a four-under-par 66 and is three shots behind.

Former world number one Spieth shot consecutive bogeys on holes 13 and 14 before birdies on the 15th, 16th and crucially the 18th handed the 23-year-old the narrowest of leads.

But while Spieth endured a mixed back nine, 2008 Ryder Cup winner Weekley birdied the 11th, 13th, 15th, 17th and 18th to momentarily take the clubhouse lead.

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington is now five shots behind Spieth after an up-and-down round in which he shot five bogeys in a round of 71 to finish on four under par.

Northern Ireland’s four-time major winner Rory McIlroy had a better day with a par round following a three-over-par 73 in the second round.

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BMW International: England's Richard Bland shares lead with Sergio Garcia

Richard Bland

BMW International second round
-13 R Bland (Eng), S Garcia (Spa); -12 J Lagergren (Swe); -10 T Detry (Bel), A Romero (Arg)
Selected others: -9 S Henry (Sco); -8 H Stenson (Swe), T Fleetwood (Eng) Full leaderboard

England’s Richard Bland shot a five-under-par 67 for a share of the lead with Sergio Garcia after round three of the BMW International in Munich.

Bland, 44, made a birdie from shallow water at the 11th and scored an eagle on the 13th as he moved into contention for a career first European Tour title.

He and Spain’s Garcia, playing in Europe for the first time since he won the Masters, are 13 under par overall.

Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren, who shared the overnight lead, is one shot behind.

“I hit some really good shots out there and I hit a couple of scrappy ones coming in but my short game saved me,” Bland said.

“I got my feet wet and holed a second shot into 13. So yeah, kind of ran pretty much into everything.”

Garcia said: “It’s nice but it doesn’t mean that it’s finished. Still we have a long day tomorrow. We’ve got to go out there, play well again and see if we can pull it off.”

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Britain's Mel Reid tied for second in Arkansas after hole-in-one

Mel Reid

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, first round
-8 Park (Kor); -6 M Reid (Eng), A McDonald (US), Ryu (Kor); -5 F Johnson (Eng), M Jutanugarn (Tha), J Inkster (US), S Lewis (US), K Kirk (Aus)
Selected others: -3 M Wie (US); Level J Ewart Shadoff (Eng), S Meadow (NI); +1 B Law (Eng)
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Britain’s Mel Reid hit a hole-in-one to put herself within two shots of the early lead at the NW Arkansas Championship.

The Derby-born player posted the seventh ace of her career on the par-three 11th at Pinnacle Country Club.

Reid carded a six-under-par 65 to finish in a tie for second, behind South Korea’s Park Sung-hyun.

The 29-year-old sits alongside compatriot Ryu So-yeon and America’s Ally McDonald.

Fellow Briton Felicity Johnson finished behind them after a five-under 66.

“As soon as I hit it I thought, oh, it’s got a chance,” Reid told lpga.com.