Shepherd was probably still pinching himself for some time as he contemplated playing not only The 149th Open, but also the 2022 Masters and U.S. Open.
After 17 of the 36 scheduled holes in the final of the 2021 Amateur Championship at Nairn, the Stirling University graduate stood eight down to fellow Englishman Monty Scowsill. He was still four down with only four remaining, but amazingly won them all and - in what should go down as one of the sport’s greatest comebacks - triumphed at the second extra hole.
“I was honestly more concerned about not making an embarrassing record-breaking defeat,” the 23-year-old said tearfully afterwards. “To turn it around was unbelievable. The last 18 holes I thought, ‘I’m not going to win, but at least I could get a few highlights that I can watch on YouTube one night’.”
Based in St Andrews, but a member of the Rye club in East Sussex, he has battled with knee and back problems, but in a week he will never forget he also came from behind to beat Walker Cup player Jack Dyer in the semi-finals.
Shepherd acquitted himself well at Royal St George's in his major debut, following up an opening 74 with a fine 69 on day two and only narrowly missing the cut.