A Morpeth golfer is looking forward to testing himself against the world’s top players.
Victory at the English Amateur Championships in Kent last month earned Garrick Porteous a place in The Open at Muirfield.
And he is in good form for the tournament, which starts today, after being part of the England team that won the European Teams Championships in Denmark last week.
The field at Muirfield includes many star names such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.
Porteous is grouped with German Martin Kaymer, a former major winner, and Australian Jason Day, who has a world ranking of 17. They tee off at 8.22am today and 1.23pm tomorrow.
The 23-year-old said: “I’m trying to treat it as any other event, but like many of the players I will probably get nervous on the first tee.
“Muirfield is a course I know pretty well as I’ve played there a few times in different events and I did some practice rounds a couple of weeks ago to get a feel for it in these dry conditions.
“To do well here you need to stay out of the thick rough and create angles for playing your shots into the greens. I’m used to playing links golf and so I wouldn’t mind if it gets a bit windy.
“A lot of people are coming up from the North East to watch and it will be great to have so much support.”
Porteous, who plays out of Bamburgh, regularly visits Morpeth to catch up with family and friends and he recently did a talk to students at his former school – King Edward VI School.
He has kicked on even further from his impressive results in 2012 and he partly credits this to switching to a new coach and physio during the winter.
At the European Teams Championships, England were among the top eight after two rounds of strokeplay and the six-man team then won the trophy by coming out on top in three knock-out games.
Porteous, who was victorious in all of his foursomes and singles matches, said: “It felt awesome to be part of a winning team and the event has increased my confidence going into The Open.
“My putting has been very strong all year and it was a big asset for me in Denmark.”