Francesco Molinari may not be returning to Carnoustie this week but the man who stood alongside the Italian at the Open Championship prize-giving in July is licking his lips about that opportunity.
An amateur when he claimed the Silver Medal in the world’s oldest major, Sam Locke is playing as a professional on this occasion in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. The 20-year-old joined the paid ranks straight after his eye-catching performance and, as well as playing in some Challenge Tour events since then, he also made the cut on his European Tour debut in the recent Portugal Masters.
“It is an exciting opportunity for me,” said Locke of having secured an invitation for this week’s event on home soil. “I have played the courses a few times before and I’ve been to watch the Dunhill a few times, so to play in it is pretty cool. I went to Carnoustie on Monday and played a few holes – it looks a lot different without the stands up, that’s for sure. I’ve not been there before without them being up.
“It was nice to go back to a place I’d enjoyed playing and have great memories at and hopefully I can perform well there again, as well as at the other two venues this week.”
Locke’s immediate future after this week is unclear after he fell at the first hurdle last week in this season’s European Tour Qualifying School. “I’m not sure exactly what the immediate future holds for me. I’m focusing on this week at the moment and then after that we will have a chat,” he said, referring to his mentor and manager, Paul Lawrie. “This is a good chance for me to have a big finish and I’m certainly going into it with a positive frame of mind.”