An agonising ten-hour wait ended in joy for Sam Locke as the 19-year-old from Stonehaven made the cut on his Open Championship debut at Carnoustie.
In doing so, he has won the Silver Medal after the three other amateurs in the 156-strong field all made early exits on the Angus coast. Locke, who backed up his opening 72 with a 73 for a three-over-par total, is the first Scot to claim that prize since Lloyd Saltman at St Andrews in 2005.
Mentored by Paul Lawrie, Locke is the sole home player left standing in the Claret Jug event after Russell Knox missed out by a shot while Scott Jamieson, Sandy Lyle and Grant Forrest also made early exits.
“I just thought, ‘keep plugging away’,” said Locke, the Scottish Amateur champion, of finding himself three-over early on his second round after running up a double-bogey at the third. You never know what’s round the corner in this game, especially as I’ve kind of been putting and chipping quite good the last two days. So I felt, if I could keep it in play on the tee, I’d at least give myself chances for birdies.”
He made three on the spin from the 13th before dropping shots at the 16th and 18th, shaving the hole with a 30-footer at the last. He feared that finish might be costly as he came off the course at just before 11am, having been up at 3.45am to tee off in the first group.
However, the players on three-over moved above the cut line around tea-time before it was eventually confirmed at 9pm that Locke had made it into the final 36 holes. “Obviously, you’re coming here to enjoy it and to learn,” he said. “It’s a really different experience for me playing in front of all the crowds and the cameras and things. But I feel like I dealt with it really well despite feeling pretty nervous for a lot of it,” he said.
Locke’s plan had been to target a place in next year’s Walker Cup, but this performance might change things. “If you’re doing really well, that changes things, opens new doors. But we’ll just see how it goes,” he said.