The rapid rise of Englishman Andrew Johnston – ‘Beef’ – continued at The Open this week, where his golf backed-up his personality

Andrew Johnston wins hearts at The Open

Wherever Andrew Johnston has walked this week at The Open, he has left behind a stream of beaming smiles. It’s partly because he never stops smiling himself and it’s infectious.

He looks like ‘one of us’ and behaves a bit like he can’t believe he’s playing in The Open, but then he tees it up, smashes the ball over 300 yards down the middle and reminds us that he’s the real thing, and that he shouldn’t be with us on the other side of the rope at all.

Will Olympic golf help grow the game in the UK? Maybe it will, maybe it won’t, but Beef is the best torch bearer for Britain’s young golfers since Rory McIlroy won The Open two years ago.

There is something fresh and authentic about Johnston and it’s something that can’t be manufactured by marketers.

Broad smiles aside, Johnston gave the final round of The Open everything he could in trying to close the gap between the field and high-flying Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson.

Johnston birdied three of the first four holes at Royal Troon this afternoon, playing in the penultimate pairing with American Bill Haas, to energise the Troon galleries, but this links and the weather have been miserly this week and Johnston was soon pinned back.

He would never have caught an inspired Stenson anyway, playing the round of his life behind Johnston, but the Englishman’s result of eighth on three under par has further established him in golf’s majors set.

“I started off pretty good but my short game was not good enough today,” said north Londoner Johnston, 27, after his round. “There was a better score to be had but I gave it my best so no regrets.

“I’ve had a fantastic week. The crowds have been incredible, man. They left me speechless. I was shocked at the first when I holed the [birdie] putt, and they went absolutely crazy down there. And then coming down 18, I’ll remember it forever.”

Story courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, Official Car and Official Patron of The Open