A look at some of the lesser-known Brits teeing it up this week at Hoylake.
With The 143rd Open Championship just a day away, excitement is building at Hoylake. There are no less than 32 players from Great Britain and Northern Ireland competing this week and many of them have a realistic chance of winning this great event.
Just over a fifth of the field then is representing the UK. How many world-class sporting events can boast such a strong British presence? Imagine if there were 25 British men in the first round at Wimbledon – there would have to be some sort of two-week public holiday.
It’s strange that, with such an amazing collection of talented UK golfers, there isn’t more attention for The Open. This morning when I arrived at the media centre I checked the BBC sport web site. The main headline was that Nico Rosberg has signed a new deal with Mercedes, the secondary story was about James Anderson allegedly pushing Jadeja and the third story was Casey Stoney saying that, “becoming a gay mum can help her football career.” You have to scroll down to find the coverage from Hoylake.
To me, The Open is the biggest sports story of the week, of the year in fact. And that there are so many Brits in the field adds significantly to the anticipation.
Of those 32 British players teeing it up this week many are household names and proven winners: the likes of McIlroy, Rose and McDowell will start amongst the favourites. But there are a few British players teeing it up that are less well-known. Here’s the lowdown on a few of them:
Ashley Chesters – The 24-year-old out of Hawkstone Park Golf Club in Shropshire won the European Amateur Championship in 2013 to earn a place in this event. He’s a +3 handicapper and he recently finished in a tie for second in the Brabazon Trophy at Seaton Carew Golf Club.
Bradley Neil – The 18-year-old from Blairgowrie Golf Club in Perthshire won this year’s Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush to gain his spot at Hoylake. He had an impressive junior career and he partnered Peter Uihlein at last year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship to joint second place in the pro-am.
John Singleton – The 30-year-old factory worker from Wallasey is the Cinderella story at this Open. He scraped through regional qualifying at Mere, taking a reserve spot, then fired a final round of 66 to make it into a four-man playoff. When he got through that he had a spot at Royal Liverpool.
Chris Hanson – The 28-year-old from Huddersfield turned pro in 2006. He’s been to European Tour Q School on eight occasions but has not managed to gain playing rights. He’s been playing on the Challenge Tour in 2014 with a best result of tied third two weeks ago. He’s 668th on the Official World Golf Ranking. Hanson came through final qualifying at Hillside.
Paul McKechnie – The 37-year-old came through final qualifying at Gailes Links. He’s a six-time visitor to European Tour Q school and is currently playing on the EuroPro Tour and Challenge Tour. The Scot is 1,554th on the Official World Golf Ranking.
Rhys Enoch – The Welshman chipped in at Woburn to come through a three-man playoff at Final Qualifying. He had a good amateur career, playing college golf in the USA. He won the first event he played in as a professional back in 2012.