AN amateur golfer from Rayleigh has moved one step closer to competing with a star of the European Tour after qualifying for the national final of Bridgestone’s Chase Your Dream Trophy.

Ashlee Tyrrell, a member of the Rayleigh Club, triumphed in the regional qualifier at Rookery Park Golf Club with a nett score of 70.

And Tyrrell, 26, is looking forward to the national final during England Golf Week at Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, in August.

Tyrrell said: “It was probably my best round of the year. I was consistent throughout all 18 holes.

“Rookery Park is a beautiful course and I’ve never played there before.

“I had absolutely no expectations and I’m proud I did so well.

“I started playing at age 15. My dad and grandad used to play and I just followed in their footsteps.

“I’m looking forward to the next round at Woodhall Spa.”

The national final will see the winner crowned England’s female Handicap Golfer of the Year.

The top nine players in the field will play in the pro-am of the Bridgestone Challenge, the English leg of the Challenge Tour, at Luton Hoo on September 6.

Those golfers will be joined by the top nine players from the companion men’s championship, making up a total of six teams in the pro-am.

The most successful of these teams will go on to the pro-am of the British Masters, which is supported by Sky Sports, at Close House in Northumberland later in August.

It is at the pro-am of the British Masters where competitors such as Tyrrell, who plays off a handicap of four, could play with a leading golfer on the European Tour.

The Bridgestone Chase Your Dream Trophy, which is run in partnership with England Golf, is an annual event open to members of England Golf’s 1,900 affiliated clubs and features separate competitions for men and women.

England Golf and Bridgestone worked together last season to run a similar event called the Driveguard Trophy for club golfers.

The three winners then went on to become guests at the British Masters and played alongside 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell.

Bridgestone’s consumer sales and marketing director Farrell Dolan was full of praise for Tyrrell.

Dolan said: “We congratulate Ashlee for getting so far in the competition and wish her all the very best for the next round.

“Stories like this are what brings the Chase Your Dream Trophy to life and we will be wishing her all the best up at Woodhall Spa.”