England’s Alfie Plant won the Silver Medal awarded to the low Amateur at this year’s Open Championship. Alfie was the only Amateur player to make the cut, finishing T62 in a field of 156 players.
71 + 73 + 69 + 73 = 286 (+6).
Alfie began the week with a practice round a long side the World No2 Hideki Matsuyama, Alfie wasn’t fazed by Hideki, he looked like a seasoned professional who’s used to playing on the big stage week-in week-out.
On Thursday morning Alfie stepped on to the 1st tee to a thunderous reception from a huge crowd, he hit a great tee-shot down the middle of the fairway, hit his 2nd shot to 3ft and then holed the putt for birdie to momentarily lead the tournament.
The feel good factor Alfie was generating out on the course was evident immediately, Alfie quickly started to grab the attention of all the spectators in attendance with his impressive performance. Alfie finished the 1st round on +1, putting him in a strong position to make the cut.
During the 2nd round, Alfie was out on the course in the worst of weather and subsequently started to slide down the leaderboard (as many other players did on his side of the draw). Alfie found himself 1 shot outside of the cut-line on +6 with 12 holes left to play, with the weather showing no sign of relenting.
What happened next was simply incredible, Alfie didn’t show any sign of throwing the towel in, he put a solid run of pars together from the 8th to the Par 5, 15th. Alfie hit a good drive down the 15th fairway, followed by his shot of the week, a 3 wood to 4ft, which he rolled in for eagle moving him 1 shot clear of the cut on +4.
The job wasn’t done yet, he still had to play the final 3 holes in brutal conditions without dropping any shots to be certain of making the cut. Alfie made par’s down the 16th & 17th, requiring a bogey at worst down the 18th to make the cut. Alfie hit a solid drive avoiding the fairway bunkers, then under the most severe pressure imaginable, hit his 2nd shot 20ft from the pin, allowing him to make a comfortable par to finish +4 and certain of making the cut.
For a young Amateur on his debut on a stage as big as the Open Championship, having the mental strength to grind out a score in the worst of the weather, when big name players were dropping like flies around him, was nothing short of amazing.
This gutsy performance didn’t go unnoticed by the spectators, Alfie became an overnight sensation and the talk of the town!
Saturday’s 3rd round was played in far more favourable conditions, Alfie played some outstanding golf a long side European Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters, he shot 69 (-1) but was slightly disappointed not to get a bit more out of his round.
During Sunday’s final round, Alfie played another solid round tee to green but didn’t hole his fair share of putts. The crowd following Alfie was huge, everyone was really appreciative of what Alfie brought to the tournament and wanted to show their support. The noise from the crowd as Alfie entered the arena on 18 was something he’ll never forget, the atmosphere was electric, it was a true heroes welcome and an emotional one for his family watching from the grandstands.
As well as being an incredibly gifted golfer, Alfie is a man of the people, his connection with the fans is remarkable, he always has a smile on his face, he interacts with everyone, he signs every autograph, does every interview, he speaks to the fans following him like they’re his best mates! Comparisons can be made to the relationship boxer Ricky Hatton had with his fans, he’s an engaging character that the masses can relate to. It’s a breath of fresh air to see such a huge support following a young player at the beginning of his career.
The atmosphere when Alfie’s out there playing is remarkable, cheers can be heard from all corners of the course. I spoke to numerous fans from various countries around the world who were amazed by the support and feel good factor generated by Alfie.
Alfie had his brother Albert on the bag last week, it was Alberts first event caddying in a professional event, he was immense all week, it was a brilliant partnership.
A lot of credit has to go to Warren Wood (Alfie’s Swing Coach), Alfie’s performance last week didn’t just happen, it’s a result of years and years of hard work they’ve put in together.
I’m sure everyone supporting Alfie in the Open Championship will be keen to follow the next chapter as his prepares to make his professional debut later this year.
You can follow Alfie Plant on Twitter: @lad_golf
You can follow Alfie’s Caddy on Twitter: @bert_plant #BertOnTheBag
You can follow Alfie’s Coach on Twitter: @warrenwoodpga
Rob Brooks @golfnation_