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The 150th Open

Barclay Brown


Tips from Sir Nick Faldo inspire amateur

As Old Course mentors go, Sir Nick Faldo is up there with the very best.

As Old Course mentors go, Sir Nick Faldo is up there with the very best. 

And amateur Barclay Brown revealed a pep-talk from the three-time Champion Golfer inspired him to one of the rounds of his life on Day 1 of The 150th Open. 

Brown had played just once at the home of golf when he was still in primary school but he knocked it round like a wily old veteran, his 68 good enough for four-under-par. 

The 21-year-old, who came through Final Qualifying at Hollinwell just a fortnight ago, was out at 6.46am and made the most of gentle conditions, with five birdies and just one dropped shot in a round Faldo would approve of. 

It's 32 years on since he lifted the Claret Jug on these hallowed links, and the Englishman had plenty of nuggets to share. 

“I learned some things from people I talked to,” Brown said. 

“I managed to have a good chat with Sir Nick Faldo and a chat with Darren Clarke as well before coming out and they were able to kind of help me out and just tell me how to go about playing it. 

“But it's all fairly in front of you out here. He really said keep it out of the bunkers and get good at hitting 60-foot putts. They should have said hitting 160-foot putts!” 

Perhaps the moment of the round was a birdie on the fearsome Road Hole, the 17th that requires players to drive over the Old Course Hotel. 

A 375-yard drive led to a 102-yard chip and then a 63-foot putt that found the heart of the hole.

“That was enjoyable,” Brown added.  

“I was saying earlier it definitely changed my line on 18 a little bit further left given I had already got that birdie. That was obviously a nice moment there, the grandstand was full and it was enjoyable. 

“I was unbelievably nervous at the start. And then once I got through the first couple of holes, it was nice to kind of calm down a little bit and hit some good shots and just get into it. 

“I am obviously very pleased with that. It was very enjoyable. Nice to keep it relatively stress-free, I am very pleased with myself.” 

Brown is one of six amateurs in the field this week and he’s hoping to follow in the footsteps of his friend Matt Fitzpatrick and win the Silver Medal. 

Fitzpatrick was victorious at Muirfield in 2013 and is a month removed from winning his first major at the US Open – not a bad person to look up to. 

“It was obviously brilliant to see him do that,” Brown added. "And, yeah, I know how hard he's worked and how much he's put into that. So, it obviously makes me want to get there at some point in the future.” 

Brown is refusing to get carried away though and has just one goal in mind when he tees off at 11.47am on Friday.

"Just play the best I can, really," he added. "Obviously want to win the Silver Medal. And then beyond that just put four good rounds together."