Five under-the-radar groups to follow at Carnoustie
The tee times are out and excitement is building for Sandy Lyle, Martin Kaymer and Andy Sullivan to get The 147th Open underway at 6.35am on Thursday.
A lot of focus is understandably on when big names such as Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose will hit their first shot but with 52 three-balls, there will be fascinating stories spread across the Carnoustie course.
You can access a full list of tee times here but we’ve picked out five under-the-radar groups to follow that could provide plenty of drama.
Thursday 6.57am – Danny Willett, Emiliano Grillo, Luke List
Among Thursday’s early starters are a fascinating trio, guaranteed to entertain.
Danny Willett memorably won the 2016 Masters and although his career has stuttered somewhat since, he appears to be back to something resembling his best.
A tied-19th at last weekend’s Scottish Open followed a sixth-place finish at the Irish Open seven days prior, suggests links form that could see him better the tied-sixth he earned at The Open three years ago.
The likable Englishman will be joined by Luke List – playing his first Open but who visited Scotland with his father as a golf fan 12 years ago.
The American has admitted a love of Scottish links golf inherited from his Dad, as proven by a third-place finish at the Scottish Open on Sunday, and is excited to compete for the Claret Jug for the first time.
The trio is completed by talented Argentine Emiliano Grillo, who finished 12th at Royal Troon two years ago.
Thursday 7:19am – Kevin Chappell, Oliver Wilson, Eddie Pepperell
Eddie Pepperell was always going to be at Carnoustie for this year’s Open but a second-place finish at the Scottish Open on Sunday turned his media gig into a playing one.
Pepperell, who writes a popular blog chronicling his life as a professional golfer, was set to commentate for BBC Radio Five Live but will now be teeing off in Angus instead.
He is joined by Oliver Wilson, who was part of the 2008 European Ryder Cup team and shot 64 at Carnoustie in 2014 at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, a course record erased by Tommy Fleetwood last October.
His career has headed in the wrong direction since but Wilson earned a place at his first Open since 2010 by coming through Final Qualifying and enters with no pressure as the world No.1983.
American Kevin Chappell rounds out the 7.19am three-ball as he competes at his third Open.
Thursday 9:36am – Darren Clarke, Bernhard Langer, Retief Goosen
A group of veterans who certainly know how to plot their way round an 18 – to the tune of five major championship wins between them – go out together at 9.36am.
Darren Clarke emotionally being crowned Champion Golfer of the Year in 2011 was one of the most iconic moments in Open history, while two-time Masters winner Bernhard Langer has had perhaps the greatest senior career of all-time, lifting ten senior major titles.
Meanwhile, Retief Goosen captured two US Opens in the early 2000s and battled his way through Final Qualifying at Prince’s to reach Carnoustie.
A bogey at the last down in Kent seemingly scuppered his chances, only for late bogeys from those above him on the leaderboard to earn the South African a reprieve.
Thursday 10:53am – James Robinson, Haraldur Magnus, Zander Lombard
If you want to witness guaranteed history, then this is the group for you.
Haraldur Magnus will become the first Icelandic man to play a major championship when he tees off at 10.53am but he fully earned his place at Carnoustie by coming through Final Qualifying at Prince’s.
Magnus has never even played a European Tour event, let alone a major, but seeing as his father Kristjan is an actor and mother Sigridur has had a radio show, he should know how to entertain.
Incredibly, the world No.1075 will be joined by a man ranked 668 places below him in the form of James Robinson.
Robinson has barely played any competitive golf in the last 12 months while he focuses on working towards his PGA coaching qualification at the Clarks Golf Centre near St Helens but came through Regional Qualifying at Fairhaven before shooting 67-65 to win Final Qualifying at St Annes and reach The Open for the first time.
The ice-cool Scandinavian golfer and charismatic Englishman will be joined in the three-ball by South Africa’s Zander Lombard.
Thursday 11:58am – Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Tom Lewis
Charl Schwartzel came out of nowhere – from four shots behind overnight leader Rory McIlroy to be precise – to win the 2011 Masters but the South African also has a penchant for links golf.
He has recorded top-20 finishes at five of the last eight Opens and won the English amateur strokeplay title at Royal Cinque Ports way back in 2002.
He’ll be joined on the course by Tom Lewis, who shot to prominence at the 2011 Open when he carded 65 in the opening round at Sandwich – the lowest score by an amateur in Open history.
He co-led alongside Thomas Bjorn after the first round and eventually finished joint-30th, scooping the Silver Medal in the process, and will be looking to make further waves at Carnoustie.
The three-ball is rounded out by talented American Daniel Berger, who will be looking to build on the tied-27th he earned at Royal Birkdale last year.
TheOpen.com is the only place to get all the latest news from The 147th Open at Carnoustie. This time next year, The Open will return to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years.
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