13 Jul 2022 | Professional golf |
Open debutants lean on countrymen
by Dane Heverin
Jed Morgan and Anthony Quayle become the 193rd and 194th Australians to chase the dream of lifting the Claret Jug this week and they have turned to their countrymen to guide them through their Open debuts at St Andrews.
Australian PGA champion Morgan has enlisted the help of the nine Australians in the field for guidance, while Queensland PGA champion Quayle has 15-time Japan Golf Tour winner Brendan Jones on the bag courtesy of a bet between the close friends.
Quayle, 27, and Jones, 47, play a practice round together every Tuesday on the Japan Golf Tour with the loser having to buy dinner and a nice bottle of red wine.
The senior member of the duo has regularly been getting the better of their battles throughout the year, but after another win in the lead-up to the Mizuno Open in May - he was defending his title that week - he wanted to up the stakes.
Four spots for The Open were up for grabs that week so Jones - who has played in 12 major championships, including four Opens - laid down the challenge.
“He asked me ‘will you caddie for me at St Andrews if I earn one of the spots?’,” Quayle recalled.
“I said back ‘well, what if I qualify?’. So he said that was fair and we made the deal.”
The Queenslander was heartbroken that week as he was unable to capture his maiden Japan Golf Tour win - going down in a playoff - but it secured his first start in a major with Jones by his side.
“The 150th Open at St Andrews is a very special place to be making my debut. I’ve been using the practice rounds to study the course and I can’t wait for Thursday,” Quayle said.
The two-time PGA Tour of Australasia winner is known as a splendid iron-player with a stellar short game, and fellow Australian and Japan Golf Tour player Matt Griffin tipped him as a potential surprise packet this week for that reason.
For fellow Queenslander Morgan, The Open is the latest step in his whirlwind journey since lifting the Kirkwood Cup at his home course, Royal Queensland, in January and subsequently winning the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit.
That triumph earned the 22-year-old his place in the field at the Home of Golf, as well as his major debut at last month’s US Open, only twelve months after he was at Moonah Links on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula playing for a tour card at the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Qualifying School.
“I’ve had a forced fast track of development which has been cool. I didn’t think it would happen this quick,” the Golf Australia rookie squad member said.
“But I’ve been spending time with the other Aussies this week, and throughout the year, and they have been great to me.
“So I hope I can be the same for the next generations coming through.”
The howling seaside winds, and the firmness and dryness of the links course are not dissimilar from the conditions Australian players face at events like the Vic Open at 13th Beach and the Vic PGA at Moonah Links, and Morgan will be calling on his learnings from those experiences this week.
“As Aussies we enjoy this kind of golf more,” he said. “Something I’ve struggled with in the US is firm fairways, firm greens and soft rough. Here everything is dry so it’s the same consistency. It’s nicer to adjust to.”
Round 1 tee times AEST
3:35pm Min Woo Lee, Webb Simpson, Paul Lawrie
4:30pm Lucas Herbert, Phil Mickelson, Kurt Kityama
5:03pm Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka, Seamus Power
6:25pm Brad Kennedy, Ernie Els, Adri Arnaus
7:53pm Anthony Quayle, Zander Lombard, John Parry
8:36pm Jed Morgan, Ryan Fox (NZ), Mark Calcavecchia
10.15pm Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Dustin Johnson
11.15pm Jason Scrivener, Shugo Imahira, David Law
12.43am Dimitrios Papadatos, Matt Griffin, Laurie Canter
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