Sam Locke, Scottish golf’s man of the moment after his Silver Medal win in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, has turned professional with immediate effect following a sitdown today with his mentor, Paul Lawrie.
The pair had a long chat back in Aberdeen as the dust settled on the 19-year-old following in the footsteps of Rory McIlroy by finishing as leading amateur in the event at Carnoustie and also claiming a coveted prize won by Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose.
“The decision to move in to the professional ranks is always something I’ve wanted to do,” said Locke, who won a final qualifier at The Renaissance Club to earn his major debut then shine on one of the game’s biggest stages.
He opened with rounds of 72 and 73 to be the only Scot to make the cut before adding a 70 that was capped with a last-hole birdie.
He was slightly disappointed to close with a 78 but, having earlier enjoyed an audience with five-time champion Tom Watson, Locke spent time chatting with Francesco Molinari before they picked up their respective prizes.
“It’s been a genuine goal of mine to play golf for a living for some time now,” he added. “My dad, Andrew, who caddied for me this week is a PGA professional at the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre and obviously I have close ties to Paul Lawrie, so have an understanding of what it takes to be successful in the pro game.
“My experiences over the last week or so, since I won the Open qualifier at Renaissance and throughout last week have allowed me to see things from a different perspective.”
Locke’s decision means that he will not be defending his Scottish Amateur Championship title at Blairgowrie next week, having claimed that prize by beating Ryan Lumsden 9&8 in the final at Prestwick 12 months ago.
A product of the Paul Lawrie Foundation, the Stonehaven player had planned to stay amateur until next year’s Walker Cup but that is no longer a target and his switch to the paid ranks has the full backing of Lawrie.
“Winning the Silver Medal was hugely impressive and whilst this is just the beginning of the journey for Sam I certainly think he’s ready to make the transition and I’ll be on-hand to give him any advice he feels he may need along the way,” said the 1999 Open champion and two-time Ryder Cup player.