A fantastic Open feeling

Garrick Porteous at The Open
Garrick Porteous at The Open

GARRICK Porteous believes that mixing it with the world’s top players at a major championship will be an invaluable experience.

The Morpeth golfer may have missed the cut at The Open in Muirfield, Scotland, but he will take away memories that will last a lifetime.

Invited to play as a result of winning the English Amateur Championships in Kent last month, the 23-year-old carded 76 and 77 to finish on 11 over par for his two rounds, three shots above the cut mark.

The dry conditions made things tricky for everyone in the field, including world number three Rory McIlroy who ended up on 12 over.

Porteous said: “I don’t think I will ever get over the feeling of being on the first tee on Thursday knowing I was about to become an Open player.

“The nerves were high on that first hole and just to get it down the middle and make par felt great.

“While it’s a disappointment I didn’t make it to the weekend, I can say I finished above Rory McIlroy.

“As an amateur, to play with Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer and Australian Jason Day has been an awesome experience.

“The thing that struck me about them both was how totally relaxed and down-to-earth they are.”

Born in Colchester, he moved to Morpeth at the age of three.

His father, John, soon introduced him to golf and by the age of nine he had a handicap at his father’s club, Bamburgh Castle. He has represented the club ever since.

He has lots to look forward to in the months ahead, as winning the English Amateur title means that he will play in next year’s Masters at Augusta and the US Open.

But there are plenty of tournaments before then – his next one is the Western Amateur event in the USA, which starts on Monday.

The US Amateur Championship takes place in mid-August at Brookline, the venue for the 1999 Ryder Cup.

John Porteous was among the large contingent from Morpeth and Bamburgh that travelled to Muirfield to cheer on Garrick.

He said: “The whole event was a very positive experience for him. As well as playing alongside Martin Kaymer and Jason Day, he received plenty of useful advice from Jim Furyk and Justin Leonard during his main practice round.

“The conditions were difficult but he generally drove and putted well and he did not look out of place. If he had holed a few of his birdie putts, he may have made the cut.

“It has been a bit of a whirlwind because of what Garrick has achieved over the last few months, but now he can reflect on the fact that he has fulfilled every amateur golfer’s dream by playing in The Open.”