Five Amateurs Set to Tee it Up at the British Open
19 Jul 2017
by Chris Brauner of AmateurGolf.com

see also: British Open Championship, St. Andrews - Old Course

SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND (July 19, 2017) - Five amateurs are in the field at the 146th British Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club.

Each is no doubt hoping to replicate or even exceed the success of Stewart Hagestad, who was low amateur at this year's Masters, and Scottie Scheffler, the low amateur at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

Each has carved his own unique path to the Open, four of them gaining entry through various exemption categories, and one through open qualifying.

Here is a closer look at the five who will be representing the amateur game this week at Royal Birkdale:

Maverick McNealy, Portola Valley, CA, USA

Maverick McNealy
Maverick McNealy
Winner of eleven college tournaments at Stanford University, McNealy earned his spot in the British Open field by winning the Mark H. McCormack Medal in 2016. Presented by the USGA and R&A, the McCormack Medal is awarded to the leading player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. McNealy was also gained an exemption into the U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

McNealy is mulling a decision to turn pro after the Walker Cup Matches in September and has said he will know more after the U.S. Amateur next month.

Thu Jul 20, Game #2, 6:46am / Fri Jul 21, Game #28, 11:47am:
Phachara, Khongwatmai (Thailand), Maverick McNealy (USA), Stuart Manley (Wales)

Harry Ellis, England

Harry Ellis
Harry Ellis
Ellis, who emerged on the amateur golf scene by winning the 2012 English Amateur at the age of 16, earned an exemption into the British Open by winning the British Amateur Championship at Royal St. George's.

In that tournament, Ellis, who plays college golf in the U.S. at Florida State University, was four down with five holes to play yet somehow managed to pull out the win on the 38th hole.

Ellis will tee it up in the first two rounds with 2011 British Open champion Darren Clarke.

Thu Jul 20, Game #16, 9:25am / Fri Jul 21, Game #42, 2:26pm:
Darren Clarke (Northern Ireland), Gary Woodland (USA), Harry Ellis (England)

Alfie Plant, England

Alfie Plant
Alfie Plant
Plant won the European Amateur last month at Walton Heath Golf Club to gain entry into this year's British Open.

Plant had to work overtime to earn his exemption. Tied after regulation with two other players, including the defending champion, Plant survived a three-hole aggregate playoff, and then a sudden-death playoff afterward, finally closing it out by making birdie on the fifth extra hole.

Thu Jul 20, Game #15, 9:14am / Fri Jul 21, Game #41, 2:15pm:
Wesley Bryan (USA), Anirban Lahiri (India), Alfie Plant (England)

Luca Cianchetti, Italy

Luca Cianchetti
Luca Cianchetti
Cianchetti earned a British Open exemption by virtue of his win at the 2016 European Amateur Championship, held that year in Estonia. Cianchetti prevailed in a dramatic seven-hole playoff.

Cianchetti nearly repeated this year at Walton Heath, making the playoff against eventual winner Alfie Plant but falling out after the three-hole aggregate.

Syme will tee it up in the first two rounds with 1995 British Open champion John Daly.

Thu Jul 20, Game #22, 10:31am / Fri Jul 21, Game #48, 3:32pm:
John Daly (USA), Adam Bland (Australia), Luca Cianchetti (Italy)

Connor Syme, Scotland

Connor Syme
Connor Syme
Syme is the only member of the five to earn his way in through open qualifying. Playing in British Open Final Qualifying at Gailes Links in Scotland, Syme shot 71-67 for a four-under 138 total in rough weather to share medalist honors.

Syme has compiled an impressive amateur record, winning last year's Australian Amateur and recording top five finishes in the European Amateur, British Amateur, St. Andrews Links Trophy and African Amateur Stroke Play in recent years.

Thu Jul 20, Game #22, 10:31am / Fri Jul 21, Game #48, 3:32pm:
Richard Bland (England), Shaun Norris (South Africa), Connor Syme (Scotland)

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 World" 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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