The Open 2012: Warren Bennett comfortable on European Tour

Warren Bennett

The 141ST OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

Venue:
Royal Lytham & St Annes
Date:
19-22 July
Coverage:
Live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, online and mobile (UK only) and Radio 5 live; text commentary on BBC Sport website (#bbcgolf) and mobiles; watch again on iPlayer

Warren Bennett completed his first Open Championship in 10 years with a disappointing six-over 76 at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

But the 40-year-old Kent golfer, who now faces a battle to win back his European Tour card, insists that he is good enough to perform at this level.

"I don't feel out of my league at all," Bennett told BBC Radio Kent.

"Tour School's my only way back and I'll be entering that, but I feel I'm good enough to compete."

As a former winner at Gleneagles, Bennett will first be hoping for an invite to next month's Johnnie Walker Championship in Perthshire.

But, after picking up a cheque for £10,560 to fund him for the rest of the year, his first port of call will be a few minor Jamega and Europro Tour events to sharpen up his game - especially his putting.

After a bogey at the third, Bennett had a dreadful run of seven holes from the ninth when his putter let him down and he bogeyed everything, except for a birdie at the 11th to finish 12 over for the Championship - tied for 77th, the same mark as five-times Open champion Tom Watson.

"I've played OK but I've putted horrendously again," said Bennett. "I've putted like an amateur. Mid-30s every round.

"Compared to my playing partner Aaron Baddeley today, it was like chalk and cheese. He looked so much smoother.

"But that's something I've now got to work on, then it will be case of getting ready for Tour School."

And the injury-jinxed Bennett, who gave up the game altogether out of sheer disillusionment to caddie for Trish Johnson on the Ladies' Tour, has already had one useful tip from his former employer.

"I had a text from her telling me to stick to my routine and not to worry about my opponent, which was really useful, as I didn't know that's what I'd been doing."

Whatever happens now for Bennett, as the former European Tour regular fights to get back where he was over a decade ago, he has the backing of his wife and 11-year-old son Tom, who wore a huge grin on his face all week as they led the supporting entourage on the Ribble Estuary.

"Apart from having to get up at six this morning, Tom's absolutely loved every minute of it," added the man from Prince's Golf Club in Sandwich.

"He had the best day on the practice ground on the Wednesday getting his picture taken with the other players and getting hats off them.

"And he can't wait to get back to North Foreland to play over the summer holidays and tell a few stories to tell his friends."