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Golf News of Tuesday, 6 July 2004

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Ghana Golfers Refused Visas

Scotland -- The son of a former world boxing champion and two professionals from Ghana are among the players who are 36 holes away from playing in the Open following yesterday's 16 regional qualifying competitions at Hadley Wood in north London.

They all progress to this weekend?s final qualifying event where 320 players will be battling it out for a mere 12 places in the Open proper at Royal Troon next week.

Two years after 47 Nigerians failed to show for the regional qualifying in what was suspected to be a visa scam, there were seven no-shows today from the 12-strong African contingent listed to play at Orsett in Essex.

However, on this occasion the organising Royal and Ancient had been informed that the seven, mostly from Ghana, would not be on the tee.

?We received a fax on Sunday night from the Ghana Professional Golfers? Asssociation listing a number of players who had been refused visas to travel,? said the R&A?s manager of championship operations Rhodri Price.

?It is a shame because these players have paid their entrance fees, but they were refused visas at the last minute. We will have to talk with the Ghanaian authorities to see if something can be done in future.?

Their cause could well be helped by the fact that one of those who did play, Emos Korblah, made it through with a round of 71, only three strokes behind amateur Steven Lewton.

?It has cost me 2,500 American dollars to come here to play and now I will have to look for a sponsor to cover my expenses in Scotland,? said the 32-year-old.