Quick Bit: Barclay Brown could join elite company if he is able to make it to the weekend at The Open in 2022.

Full Story:

Amateur Barclay Brown was among the first to tee off at St. Andrews for the first round of the 2022 edition of The Open. He was also among the best of the day.

Brown, 21, came out hot and carded a 4 under on Thursday. That puts him four strokes back of leader Cameron Young but in the top five to begin the final major of 2022.

And Brown couldn’t be happier with the result.

“Very pleased with that. Very enjoyable,” Brown said of his first round, per Golf Digest. “Fortunately, I was able to keep it relatively stress-free.”

Of course, it wasn’t like that at the start. Brown conceded that he was “unbelievably nervous” at the start of the tournament and couldn’t sleep before his tee time at 6:46 a.m. local time.

But eventually, he got comfortable.

Once I got through the first couple holes, it was nice to calm down a little bit and hit some good shots.

Indeed, Brown hit some rock-solid shots to card the 68 on St. Andrews’ notoriously tricky Old Course. Most notably, he made a long birdie putt on “The Road Hole” 17th, known to be one of the most difficult on the course.

In doing so, Brown shot one of the best first rounds by an amateur in recent memory and also has potentially positioned himself for one of the best amateur finishes of all time.

Here’s what to know about Brown and amateur at The Open as he looks to tame the iconic course once again.

MORE: Latest score updates, highlights from Tiger Woods’ first round at The Open

Who is Barclay Brown?

Barclay Brown is a 21-year-old English amateur golfer who currently ranks 46th in the World Amateur golf rankings. He currently plays college golf at Stanford and is playing in his first Open Championship in 2022.

Brown has been a part of the England, Great Britain and Ireland national team for golf since age 12. He was a terrific golfer in high school, playing at the Birkdale School, and went undefeated in individual play in 2018 and 2019.

After high school, Brown went to Stanford and has continued his progression as a terrific golfer for the Cardinal. He has steadily improved during his three years with the program and made the All-Pac-12 first team in 2021 and the second team in 2022. He has logged eight top-10 finishes and nine top-20 finishes during his time at Stanford.

Brown didn’t have much high-end professional experience before competing in The Open. He had taken part in the 2021 Walker Cup with the England, Great Britain and Ireland team and went 1-2-1 in that competition.

As such, it’s easy to understand why Brown was so nervous as he played at The Open for the first time.

MORE: Cameron Young laughs off question about “improbable journey” to The Open

How did Barclay Brown qualify for the Open Championship?

Amateurs are able to qualify for The Open by winning a qualifying event. Brown did that at the Hollinwell Golf Club in England.

Brown starred at the 36-hole qualifying event. He carded a 4 under 140 for the tournament and was one of just three players to have a score under par. He beat the other two — Richard Mansell (1 under) and Oliver Farr (1 under) — by a sizeable, three-stroke margin.

“I’m proud of myself,” Brown said after winning the qualifying event, per the Yorkshire Post. “I had a little wobble there in the second round but I was pleased with how I managed to hold on.”

Brown also explained after qualifying that his relationship with U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick catalyzed his victory. The two are from the same area, belong to the Hallamshire Golf Club and Brown was paired with Fitzpatrick’s brother Alex during his 2021 Walker Cup action.

“It’s inspiring for me,” Brown said of watching Fitzpatrick win The Open. “I feel like it resonated with me much more so than a Tiger or a Rory who I’ve never met and just watched on the television all my life.

With Matt I’ve seen him put in the work, I know from him what it takes to get to that level and it’s a lot of hard work.

Now, Brown is hoping he can get to that level earlier than expected. Or at the very least, he wants to be one of the top amateurs to ever compete at The Open.

MORE: Who has the most Open Championship wins?

Best Open Championship finishes by an amateur

It has been almost 100 years since an amateur won The Open. John Ball, Harold Hilton and Bobby Jones are the only amateurs to ever win the tournament, with Jones’ last win — his third overall — coming in 1930.

As far as modern history goes, Brown’s first-round performance was one of the best by an amateur in recent memory. He finished the day 4-under par and is currently tied for fourth in the tournament.

If Brown stays there, that will be significant; no amateur has finished the first round of The Open in the top five since Tom Lewis tied for a share of the lead in 2011.

Either way, Brown will have a chance to compete for one of the best amateur finishes in the history of The Open. Chris Wood (T5 in 2008) and Jordan Niebrugge (T6 in 2015) currently own the two best.

So, all Brown needs to do is keep pace with the rest of the field for the next three days, and he will have a shot at a top-five finish. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

Luckily for Brown, he still has some other targets for which to aim. Since 1949, the lowest-scoring amateur at The Open to complete the final round has received a silver medal. Brown can join elite company, which includes Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, if he achieves that feat.

Year
Golfer
1978
Peter McEvoy
1979
Peter McEvoy
1980
Jay Sigel
1981
Hal Sutton
1982
Malcolm Lewis
1985
Jose Maria Olazabal
1987
Paul Mayo
1988
Paul Broadhurst
1989
Russell Claydon
1991
Jim Payne
1992
Daren Lee
1993
Iain Pyman
1994
Warren Bennett
1995
Steve Webster
1996
Tiger Woods
1997
Barclay Howard
1998
Justin Rose
2001
David Dixon
2004
Stuart Wilson
2005
Lloyd Saltman
2006
Marius Thorp
2007
Rory McIlroy
2008
Chris Wood
2009
Matteo Manassero
2010
Jin Jeong
2011
Tom Lewis
2013
Matt Fitzpatrick
2015
Jordan Niebrugge
2017
Alfie Plant
2018
Sam Locke
2021
Matti Schmid

Even if another amateur surpasses Brown, he can earn a bronze medal for just completing the final round of The Open. So, needless to say, the young Englishman’s eyes will be on the cut line as he plays on Friday.

Originally found on Sporting News Read More

Leave a Comment