CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Alfie Plant of England, playing Panmure Golf Links on day one of the 120th British Amateur Championship, began his day birdie-birdie-eagle. The hot start led him to an opening-round 63, a new course record, and a two-stroke lead over Grant Forrest of Scotland and Ryan Chisnall of New Zealand.
“I’m really pleased. It’s my first course record and my personal best round as well so it’s been a really good day," Plant told the R&A. "Obviously you see it a lot out here, people go low in the first round and find it hard to back it up in the second round. Hopefully I can do the same again tomorrow or, if not, just be nice and steady and get into the match play round.”
Plant's eagle at the par-4 3rd hole was replicated by another hole-out eagle on the par-4 10th, pushing him to seven-under for the day before parring the remaining eight holes.
Forrest, who just finished his senior year at the University of San Diego, held the clubhouse lead for some time before Plant blistered the front nine at Panmure. Forrest, as well as Chisnall, posted their first-round, five-under par 67s at the more difficult Carnoustie Golf Links.
In fourth place is Jack Hume of Ireland after a 68 at Carnoustie, followed by nine players tied for fifth place at three-under par. Only two of the nine players at minus-3 conquered Carnoustie on Monday.
Notable players tied for fifth include recent Welsh Open Amateur winner Jimmy Mullen of England, young Aussie golfer Harrison Endycott, who won the Avondale Amateur Medal back in February, as well as Clemson golfer Miller Capps of Denver, N.C.
Forty-three players are under par after day one, with 29 more at even par. With that being said, the cut line at the stroke play's halfway point would be in the even-par range, leaving a large playoff for the final spots heading into match play.
Descending upon Carnoustie and Panmure Monday are 288 contestants vying for The Amateur Championship. Thirty different countries are represented in the 2015 event, with players competing in 36 holes of stroke play qualifying for the top-64 spots, which will lead into match play at the renowned Carnoustie.
While defending champion Bradley Neil of Scotland is prepping for his U.S. Open debut at Chambers Bay stateside in Washington, seven of the top-20 amateurs in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Rankings are in the United Kingdom for the tournament's 120th running.
Highlighting the seven players is England's Ashley Chesters, who is the reigning European Amateur champion. Ranked No. 7 in the world, Chesters' 2015 campaign has been marked with success thus far, but he is without victory. He tied for second at the Welsh Open Amateur and reached the semifinals of the Spanish International Amateur.
Other top-20 players include top Australian golfer Lucas Herbert, soon-to-be Oklahoma State senior and 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Jordan Niebrugge, Australia's Ryan Ruffels, future Arkansas golfer Austin Connelly of Canada, England's Nick Marsh, and USC junior Rico Hoey.
The United States is represented by 12 players in this year's field. Aside from the previously mentioned Niebrugge and Hoey, who hail from Wisconsin and California, respectively, the following 10 players are also overseas looking to become the first American winner since Drew Weaver in 2007.
Frederick Wedel of California, Charlie Danielson of Wisconsin, Miller Capps of North Carolina, Jack Smith of Tennessee, Graysen Huff of Idaho, Ryan Stovash of Florida, John Oda of Hawaii, Chad Merzbacher of Minnesota, Kyle Kochevar of Illinois, and Matt Oshrine of Maryland are flying the American flag in Scotland this week.
Carnoustie is one of the world’s most famous links courses and has hosted The Open Championship seven times, most recently in 2007 when Padraig Harrington lifted the Claret Jug for the first time. It will host the Amateur Championship for the fifth time in 2015, while Panmure has strong ties to the Amateur as one of the 24 clubs that funded the trophy commissioned in 1886.
Click the link below to follow along as the players face the tough tests of Carnoustie and Panmure in round one of stroke play at the 120th British Amateur Championship.