Open Championship: Ashley Chesters leads amateur contingent
HOYLAKE, England (July 18, 2014) -- 2013 European Amateur champion Ashley Chesters posted a solid two-under 70 in the first round of the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

He is tied for 19th, leads the four player amateur field at the Open by four strokes, and only trails leader Rory McIlroy by four strokes after the first round of play.

Chesters started off a little slow, making two birdies and three bogeys on the outward nine, but picked it up on the way in with four birdies and one bogey, including one at the final hole, to shoot 70.

He will tee off with Freddie Jacobson and Branden Grace at 7:32 EDT on Friday morning.

Cheng-tsung Pan, Bradley Neil, and Paul Dunne are the other three amateurs in the field, and they have work to do if they want to make the cut.

Pan, a product of the University of Washington, made two birdies, two bogeys, and a double on the day for a two-over 74, good for a tie for 84th. Dunne is tied for 105th at three-over 75, and Neil Bradley is in a tie for 145th after shooting seven-over 79.

The top 70 and ties make the cut following Friday's second round. Currently, 83 players are at one-over 73 or better.

Chesters can lock up low amateur honors two days early if he ends up as the only am to play the weekend. Right now, it looks like a definite possibility.

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ABOUT THE British Open

The most coveted trophy in the game and one of the most iconic in all of sport: more commonly referred to as the Claret Jug. Within minutes of winning the British Open, the "Champion Golfer of the Year" gets his name engraved on that cup, and a place in golfing history.

Amateurs have played an important role in the tournament over the years, with players like Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, and more recently Alfie Plant stepping into the international limelight with their golfing performances.

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