WHITEFIELD golfer Karl Bowker is one shot away from a national title after qualifying for the American Golf UK Long Drive Championships.

The 54-year-old member at Bolton Old Links Golf Club surprised even himself after sending down a 336-yard monster drive to make it through the regional round as the oldest qualifier in the over-45s competition.

More than 5,000 people entered the event, but Bowker will now take on the other regional winners in the national finals at Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire on August 4.

It will be televised live on Sky Sports, with the winners of the over-45s, under-45s and women's competitions all making it through to the World Championships in Oklahoma, USA.

Bowker, who has never entered a long-drive competition before, said: “I've always been known as a long hitter and at almost 55 years of age, I wondered how I would compare against the 'youngsters' in the over 45s category.

"I'm thrilled and somewhat surprised to have qualified for the national final at my first entry and I'm really looking forward to it.”

After watching qualifying come to a close at the American Golf Manchester Golf Show, Daniel Gathercole, director of marketing and communications at American Golf, said: "The standard of qualifying this year has been amazing.

"To make the final from over 5,000 entrants is an incredible achievement.

"This championship really has brought together every type of golfer, from professionals to big-hitting club players.

"We can’t wait to find our three champions.”