Sam Locke is determined to “keep kicking on” after continuing to enjoy a dream debut in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie.
The 19-year-old from Stonehaven teed off in today’s third round knowing that he’d already secured the Silver Medal as leading amateur.
That coveted prize - Rory McIlroy was the recipient when the event was last held at the Angus venue in 2007 - had been secured on Friday after Locke was the only one out of four amateurs in the 156-strong field to make the cut.
He started his third round in the company of Englishman Tom Lewis, who achieved the same feat at Royal St George’s in 2011, started his third round by hitting his tee shot fat.
But, after shrugging that off with a shake of his head, he then hit a 7-iron to 10 feet to set up the first of six birdies.
They included his second one of the week at the 18th, giving him a one-under-par 70 and a two-over-par 215 total.
“I thought I played a bit better today off the tee, more in control of the ball,” said the Scottish Amateur champion. “Just made a few more silly errors, but we’ll learn from it, and we won’t do it again.”
Locke, who is mentored by 1999 Carnoustie winner Paul Lawrie, had an agonising 10-hour wait on Friday before it was confirmed that he’d made it to the weekend.
“It was a long day,” he admitted. “When I finished, I thought I might miss by one, but I was just watching all day.
“It was looking kind of likely, but you never know what’s going to happen, especially with the finish that we have here at Carnoustie.
“I tried to just chill out. What will be will be. Thankfully, I got in. I was pretty happy, obviously. It was nice to know that not only would I be playing, but to guarantee the silver medal too, that was nice.
“I was on the sofa watching TV. My mom and dad were there as well. So it was nice.”
McIlroy was a mop-haired youngster when he won his Siver Medal on the Angus coast and the rest, as they say, is history.
“It’s obviously a good feeling to know that I’m in the company of Rory,” said Locke. “He’s obviously a phenomenal player and one of my idols.
“Yeah, it’s nice, but I’ve just got to keep kicking on and working hard and try and push up that leaderboard tomorrow.”