18 Jul 2023 | Professional golf |
The Open: Rookie Barron laps up the atmosphere
by Martin Blake
Haydn Barron has set a personal goal of making himself proud as the Australian prepares for his major championship debut at the Open Championship this week.
The 27-year-old Barron, from Perth, played his way into the 151st Open by claiming the last of three spots available from the ISPS HANDA Australian Open at Victoria last December – completing the coup with a hole-out eagle from a greenside bunker at the 72nd hole.
Ensconced in the Liverpool area since late last week, he knows this is his big moment, but he also wants to keep proper perspective.
“I’ve been working diligently the last few months of removing outcomes from my mindset,” he said this week.
“The main word I’m looking for is identity. ‘How does Haydn Barron tackle certain situations?’ Not if the outcome turns this way, how do I react?
“At the end of the day if it goes one way or the other it just matters how I handle it, more so than what the actual result is and I’ll learn and grow from every experience. I’m not putting an outcome on this week at all.
“I’m going to tackle it with the best mentality that I can every day, and do the best I can every day. Whatever will be will be, and as long as I’m proud of myself at the end of the week, that’s my main goal.”
Barron has his parents, coach Craig Bishop and partner Julia in tow this week and has already had a few practice rounds at Liverpool to reacquaint himself with links golf.
The atmosphere is on another level; on Monday, he was surprised to be afforded a round of applause from spectators when he teed off at Royal Liverpool’s first hole. But he feels ready. “It’s only as big as you make it in your head,” he said.
Royal Liverpool presents its own challenges, too. In 60km/h winds on Monday he played the par-3 sixth hole and was aiming 40 metres right of the green.
“Over here, you kind of have to hit the shot that it calls for even if you’re uncomfortable with it. At home we don’t get those crazy conditions. It’s windy at home but the wind’s never to the point where you can’t move the ball against it.”
It’s a long way to have come from the days in 2020 when he rather famously returned to his Western Australian Golf Club to work as a greenkeeper because there was nowhere for him to play.
“Coming from the greenkeeper days, I’m still loving it,” he said. “I was talking to a few of the greenkeepers out there the other day and chatting to them about how they were doing particular things.
"It’s something I’ve definitely still got an interest in I love how they go about things. I’m still doing my best to rake the bunkers perfectly and filling in my divots to make sure everyone’s happy.’’
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