Open Golf: Amateur Mullen excels on Open debut

Golf News

Royal North Devon fires six birdies

THERE is much to love about the amateur game and seeing one of its lesser-known talents on an Open Championship leaderboard is one of them.

Nineteen-year-old Jimmy Mullen topped the Local Final Qualifying at North Berwick after a pair of 68s and showed few signs of any nerves when he birdied the 2nd and 3rd.

“The key to starting well was the couple of birdies early on, I was obviously a bit nervous on the 1st tee and still can’t believe it if I’m honest.”

In total there were six birdies and a closing bogey gave him a round of level par.

“In truth am a bit disappointed with a 71, there were some really tough pin positions and it was pretty much unplayable at the 4th, 8th and 18th. If they cut or roll them they will just get harder and faster and you can see the spike marks around the hole. I think they need to put some water on them but they will probably want to make it as hard as possible.”

"To see a lot of friendly faces from RND really helped me to stay in the moment" – Jimmy Mullen
Spoken like a true amateur, and how refreshing it is. There is also the lack of interest in tinkering with any clubs, there are at least four different brands in the bag, as well as the support of his mates and fellow members from Royal North Devon.

“To see a lot of friendly faces from RND really helped me to stay in the moment and it was like being back at home with those guys.

“I think there were about 10 of them which is great as it’s a nine-hour drive. I have represented Devon in the South West Championship and played in the British Amateur, I’ve not really played in the big events until last year so this is all a bit of a learning curve.

“The par save at 16th was big for me and the boys made themselves heard, I’m just glad they didn’t put on their ginger wigs to try and get on TV.”

You might think that making the cut or being in with a shout of the Silver Medal would be the extent of the teenager’s ambitions. Mullen is thinking more along the lines of a top-10 finish and, with it, a return to next year’s Open at Hoylake.

“If I play similar to how I did today then I might have a good chance, I don’t want to jinx myself but I feel really good and surprisingly good out there with all the crowds. I just need to go and do some more work on the putting green.”

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