The British Open played at St. Andrews, introduced a handful of potential stars, some older champions and of course Jordan Spieth. This was a unique Open for various reasons, two of three amateurs landed in the top twelve and the third, Paul Dunne was contending until the final round on Sunday. Nothing to take away from Zach Johnson’s victory but it seem like the biggest stories were about the amateurs and the elephant in the room, Spieth.
The three amateurs where Oliver Schniederjans, top college player from Georgia Tech, Jordan Niebrugge a senior from Oklahoma State and Paul Dunne from Ireland. Schniederjans finished at nine under par with a solid round of 67 on the final day which put him at twelfth place. His fellow country man, Jordan Niebrugge finished at eleven under par and earned him the Silver Medal for the top amateur and an exemption into next year’s tournament. Lastly, Paul Dunne began the fourth round tied for first place, only to shoot a disappointing 78 on the last day. An amateur hasn’t won the British Open since Bobby Jones did 85 years ago.
Schiederjens will become a pro shortly after a stay as the number one ranked amateur in the world. He had an amazing run the last year at Georgia Tech and now will be heading to the pro ranks with momentum. Niebrugge a senior to be at Oklahoma State will continue on as an amateur while finishing his degree. At the Open, not only was an amateur, he became the first amateur since Chris Woods at Royal Birkdale in 2008 to finish in the top ten. Dunne of Ireland was the first amateur to be leading the final round in 88 years. Who knows if it was nerves that plagued him on the final day but it was unfortunate and would of been a great story.
Seems odd that amateurs were putting the pressure on the older pros and then you have Jordan Spieth breathing down their necks as well. This is exactly what you want to see in a major tournament because it brings out the best in a lot of the established players. The golfing world is looking for the next young phenom so they can be compared to Tiger Woods and after the Open, you might have new blood.
Photo – Russell Cheyne/Reuters