ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Jordan Niebrugge, a student at Oklahoma State, finished the first round as low amateur at the Open Championship. Niebrugge, a member of America’s Walker Cup team, carded a 5-under par 67 today, two shots behind leader Dustin Johnson and with a legitimate shot at the famed Claret Jug.
Niebrugge played in last month’s Amateur Championship at Carnoustie and the Brabazen Trophy before coming to St. Andrews, giving him plenty of practice before hitting the links at the fabled home of golf.
“I’ve played a lot of links golf in the last month and I think that has helped,” he added. “I feel comfortable out here. It tests your imagination but it’s a lot of fun. I like it a lot.”
He got off to a great start with a birdie at the first hole and went on to birdie Nos. 4, 5 and 8. His lone bogey on the front nine came at the 7th hole, a 371-yard par-4. He made the turn with a 3-under 33.
“I got off to a good start and managed to keep it going,” Niebrugge said. “I had a couple of tough holes on the back nine but I hung in there and finished things off with a nice birdie at the last.
His birdie on the 18th hole was one of three on the backside, but his bogey on 13 served as his only blemish on the back nine.
If Niebrugge is going to claim the Silver Medal, given to the low amateur of the Open Championship, he’s going to have to fight for it. There are nine amateurs in the field, with several who have a shot and are playing well.
England’s Ashley Chesters (-5), Paul Dunne of Ireland (-3), Frenchman Romain Langasque (-3), Englishman Paul Kinnear (-2) and Georgia Tech golfer Oliver Schniederhjans (-2) are all in striking distance.
Updates to story will follow.