It is hard to believe that it is now some 18 years since Warren Bennett won the Silver Medal awarded to the leading amateur at The Open Championship.
The Englishman put together rounds of 72, 67, 74 and 73 to finish tied 72nd behind Nick Price in the 1994 Open at Turnberry and in the process was labelled as a future Major winner by none other than former R&A secretary Sir Michael Bonallack.
Sadly things never quite worked out that way for the 40 year-old who plays at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent. He did play the Tour for a number of years and won the 1999 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles but a mixture of bad luck and niggling injuries forced him to retire in 2006. He planned to return in 2009 but was thwarted by a serious hand injury sustained in a bike accident and subsequently he has worked as a caddie for Bernd Wiesberger and Trish Johnston before mounting another comeback which has culminated in him making the cut at this week’s Open with rounds of 71 and 70.
“It has been such a long journey back and I am not there yet,” Bennett told BBC Sport after claiming a share of 40th place after the first two rounds in what is his first Open appearance for 10 years.
“For the first time I’m doing it right. Even if it doesn’t work out this time I will know that I have put the effort it and I will have no regrets.”
It was the experience of working as a caddie for Wiesberger and Johnson that rekindled his interest in playing golf and the first stage in his most recent comeback started when he came through Regional Qualifying at The London Club and then followed that up with a second place finish behind Dale Whitnell at Local Final Qualifying at Hillside.
Subsequently he has exceeded all expectations by making the cut at Lytham and is now planning to give life on Tour another go.
“Obviously I’m here playing in The Open but my aim is to get back on Tour,” he said. “Essentially I’m starting the whole thing over again.
“I enjoyed the caddying but I started to feel like I wanted to play again. I told Trish Johnson I wanted to go back and play. She said ‘go for it’ and that was that.
“There has been a lot of emotion and stress but at 40 I knew it had to be now or not at all.”