Ghala Open winner Bailey Gill raring to go at British Masters

The MENA Tour’s Bailey Gill is all set for his second taste of European Tour action at this week’s Betfred British Masters, having accepted an invitation from tournament Host and Ryder Cup legend Lee Westwood.

The impressive left-hander turned professional late last year and won the MENA Tour’s Ghala Open in Oman in February to earn a spot in the European Tour’s Oman Open a few weeks later, and he’s keen to make the most of his second opportunity at Close House.

“I received the invitation to play from Lee a few weeks ago, I was over the moon when me and my dad got the email through!” said Gill, who has been a member at Lindrick Golf Club on the outskirts of Worksop for almost ten years where Westwood also retains membership.

“Lee is a legend of the game and I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to him for the invite. This is an unbelievable opportunity for me, but it also underlines the class of the man. He’s always giving back and supporting our home town, whether it’s sponsoring the shirts at Worksop Town Football Club or donating to the flood appeal.”

After representing England as an amateur, Gill is aiming to follow in the footsteps of 25-time European Tour winner Westwood by competing at the highest level of the game in Europe. He proved he can continue his momentum, as his victory in the MENA Tour’s Ghala Open came courtesy of a fast-finish with five birdies over the final six holes – including 17 and 18 – to deny David Langley and win by just one shot.

“The British Masters has a great tradition of helping to launch the careers of some promising young players over the years and I hope that Bailey fully enjoys his experience at Close House. Obviously, it will be a little different to normal without having the fans here, but perhaps that can benefit a player in just his second start. Whatever happens, it will be a chance for Bailey to test himself against a strong European Tour field.” – Lee Westwood

His triumph earned him a European Tour debut in the Oman Open at Al Mouj Golf, in Muscat, where he missed the cut by three shots after rounds of 77 and 70.

“I think looking back at the Oman Open I was maybe a little nervous and at times I was very cautious on the golf course,” he says. “This week I’m just going to play usual game and see where that takes me. I’m determined to repay Lee’s faith in me and really kick-start my career.”

Gill’s victory at the Ghala Open and his maiden European Tour appearance at the Oman Open came just before the world came to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the UK government imposing a strict lockdown, the youngster found it difficult to follow his standard practice routine but managed to find a novel way to keep the game ticking over.

“I spent lockdown at home with my family, I have younger brothers that needed help with their school work so I helped them with that at times which was nice,” he says. “I also built a net in the back garden out of football goal posts and netting! I have a Trackman so I used that most days to make sure my numbers and swing changes were improving.”

Gill gets his tournament underway at 16.40pm (GST) alongside Richard McEvoy and former Open Champion Paul Lawrie.

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