Stonehaven amateur Sam Locke savoured every moment of his Open debut and made a promising start in his bid to emulate Rory McIlroy’s Silver Medal success at Carnoustie.
The 19-year-old finished with a flourish with a birdie on 18, regarded as the toughest finishing hole on the Open rota, to sign for a one-over-par 72.
It was the joint best score posted by the four amateurs in the field with Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard also shooting 72. China’s Yuxin Lin was unable to break 80 after finishing nine over, while South African Jovan Rebula, who qualified by winning the Amateur at Royal Aberdeen last month,
Four-time major winner McIlroy won the Silver Medal for leading amateur when The Open was last held at Carnoustie in 2007.
Locke said: “I really enjoyed the whole experience. Obviously it’s a bit different to what I’m used to but once I got the first tee shot away I settled down.
“It was really cool to walk on the first tee. That’s as good as it gets. I felt like I dealt with it quite well.
“I maybe didn’t show it but I was a bit nervous.
“I hit a lot of nice putts. If I can just get a bit tidier off the tee I should be in for a good week.
“The birdie at 18 was the highlight.
“It was a good drive down the middle and a really nice wedge. To see the putt go in the hole was a great feeling.”
The 2017 Scottish amateur champion was paired with Australian Cameron Davis and eight-time PGA Tour winner Brandt Snedeker, who Locke’s mentor Paul Lawrie defeated to help Europe win the 2012 Ryder Cup.
Locke, who tees off for his second round at 6.35am today, said: “We chatted about a few things but Medinah wasn’t one of them.
“Brandt was brilliant to play with. He is a really nice guy.
“Whoever I played with, it was a chance to learn a lot from them.
“As an amateur you want to do as best you can but also soak up the whole experience and learn from the guys who have been here for years.
“It was good fun and having my father (Andrew) on the back was really nice.
“It was a cool experience to be out there together, father and son.
“I almost started to lose my temper at one point but we were pretty grounded most of the way.
“It was a big event but the focus was to just go out and play golf and enjoy it. I felt like I did that.”
It wasn’t such a promising start for Glasgow’s Scott Jamieson, who opened with a 75, while Grant Forrest finished nine over par after shooting an 80.