Dumfries-born Robert Dinwiddie back 'labouring' before playing in 150th Open

Dumfries-born Robert Dinwiddie is set to swap a building site in the London area for the Old Course at St Andrews in a fortnight’s time after securing a dream spot in the 150th Open.

“I’m working for a construction company,” declared the 39-year-old, one of the four lucky players in Tuesday’s Final Qualifying event at Fairmont St Andrews for the milestone edition of golf’s oldest major.

He’s been doing that since the start of the Covid lockdown and, though still seeing himself as a proper golfer, Dinwiddie is also a roll-your-sleeves-up sort of guy.

“There was no golf and, though I was teaching a bit at the time, my friends who were in the trade and still doing essential work said ‘you can come and help us out’. I did and have been doing that for two years.

Robert Dinwiddie in action during last week's Blot Open de Bretagne on the Challenge Tour in Pleneuf-Val Andre, France. Picture: Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images.

“Just a general handyman, helping out, labouring, all kind of building work, managing projects for them if they’ve got a few on the go. It’s physical but quite satisfying and I enjoy it.”

Preparing for a third Open appearance, having also qualified for St Andrews in 2015 then again two years later at Royal Birkdale, will have to wait.

“I’m not staying to celebrate as I’m meant to be at work tomorrow, so have a long drive back down,” said Dinwiddie, who lived in Dumfries for close to ten years then moved to County Durham but is now based in Wandsworth. “I did warn them I won’t get in until 4am!”

He’d be happy with an early alarm call on the first day at St Andrews as opposed to a lie in. “Pray for a good tee-time,” he replied to being asked what lessons he’d learned from missing the cut on those two previous appearances.

Robert Dinwiddie, far left, with fellow Open qualifiers Lars Van Miejel, Alex Wrigley and David Carey at Fairmont St Andrews. Picture: R&A.

“I know it’s likely I’ll get the 4.20 time and hope it’s that benign afternoon rather than armageddon, which has been the last two. And finishing at 9.30 at night in horizontal rain at St Andrews was pretty tough.”

Having already progressed from the regional stage, Dinwiddie joined fellow Englishman Alex Wrigley in coming though the Fairmont St Andrews 36-hole qualifier, as well as Irishman David Carey, Dutchman Lars Van Miejel.

“Though I’m still playing a little bit on the Challenge Tour, I’m not a full-time golfer this year,” said the former Scottish Stroke-Play champion and also a past Scottish Challenge winner.

“I’ve had some great help from a few friends. Jason Pritchard has helped, sponsors have paid my expenses to encourage me to come back out and play some golf, that’s been a huge help for me.

“I’ve never lost the buzz. I love golf, I feel like I’ve still got the ability to play really well. There are elements of tour life I don’t miss, some of the travel, although there are certain places you like to go to. The chasing points to get on the board I don’t miss. But I do miss the competition and the people out there.”

At a time when golf has been dominated by money, Dinwiddie’s appearance back on one of the game’s biggest stages will be a refreshing sight, with current construction work likely to stop in a fortnight’s time. “They’ll probably want to come up and watch,” he said, smiling, of his workmates.

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