ST ANDREWS: Britain‘s steel city Sheffield has a knack of forging world class golfers and another one appears to have rolled off the production line in the shape of amateur Barclay Brown.
The 21-year-old qualifier made his first-ever round in a major look like a breeze as he carded a four-under 68 to sit in a tie for second place early on day one of the 150th Open.
Brown, wearing a floppy hat usually associated with music festivals, sank five birdies, including rolling in a 45-foot putt on the Road Hole 17th, with just one bogey.
“Very pleased with that, it was very enjoyable,” Brown, who practised on the links course at Royal St Georges in Sandwich last week, said. “I managed to keep it relatively stress free.
“I was unbelievably nervous at the start. But once I got through the first couple of holes, I kind of calmed down a little bit and hit some good shots.”
Brown began playing at the Hallamshire Club in Sheffield where this year’s U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick also came through the ranks.
Danny Willett, who won the 2016 Masters, also hails from Sheffield, and Brown hopes to follow in their footsteps, although his target over the next four days is the amateur’s silver medal.
“Watching Matt do that it was obviously brilliant. I know how hard he’s worked and how much he’s put into that,” he said.
“And so obviously makes me want to get there at some point in the future.”
Brown was up at the crack of dawn for his opening round in the second group but said that was better than sitting around stewing for the biggest day of his career so far.
“When I saw the draw I was saying it’s not too bad really because I’ll probably be awake at 4am anyway playing the first day of the Open so I might as well be out playing golf instead of just sat twiddling my thumbs,” he said.