GARRICK Porteous, the most talked about golfer in the North East on Facebook this week, has what it takes to follow in the footsteps of US Open champion Justin Rose and make a big impression on the Open as an amateur.
That’s the view of a man well qualified to judge as the holder of the Muirfield amateur course record, Sandy Twynholm, also the winner of a record seven Northumberland strokeplay titles.
Twynholm will be among two coachloads of golfers from Morpeth Golf Club travelling to Muirfield for the second day’s play on Friday.
Porteous has a 1.23pm start that day, teeing off at 8.22am when the first round gets under way tomorrow. He qualified for the Open by becoming British Amateur champion.
The Morpeth contingent are part of a vast army of golf followers from the North East taking in the big show at the Open venue closest to the region.
“Facebook is full of golf lovers saying how excited they are about going up to Muirfield to support our man,” said Twynholm, like Porteous a former pupil at King Edward V1 School in Morpeth.
“It’s great we have somebody to cheer on when the Edinburgh area is as close as the Open gets to us.
“The three players I want to watch on Friday are Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and Garrick Porteous, and I am looking forward to my big day out.”
A former Scotland international and Journal Champion of Champions, Twynholm has his amateur record score of five-under 67 pinned up on the wall in the Muirfield clubhouse alongside professional scores returned by multiple major winners Nick Faldo and Walter Hagen.
Twynholm’s impression on Muirfield was made during the British Mid-Amateur Championship in 2005, playing off the Open tees when the fearsome track was the longest it has ever been at 7,034 yards.
It is a record he still holds at the world’s oldest golf club, which was formed in 1774 and has been host to 15 Opens, none of which have seen an amateur match Twynholm’s score.
Rose first came to prominence as a 17-year-old amateur at the 1998 Open at Birkdale where he holed a dramatic shot from the rough at the final hole to finish in a tie for fourth place
Twynholm said: “Justin made a huge impression, and there is also a bit of a precedent closer to home in that Simon Young from Cumbria won the silver medal for leading amateur at the Open which will be Garrick’s target as British Amateur champion.
“As Garrick has said himself, it is a big factor that he grew up on links golf at his club Bamburgh Castle, so he knows what it will take to do justice to himself.
“He’s got a fabulous draw with playing alongside Martin Kaymer and Jason Day, but he was already guaranteed a huge following because everything he has achieved has caught the imagination of the sporting public in the region.
“Through The Journal I would like to wish Garrick the best of luck, tell him the whole region is rooting for him.”
Meanwhile Lee Westwood, attached to Close House, has revealed he has been working with the coach of Tiger Woods and Rose as he steps up his bid for his first major title.
The 40-year-old, who has finished in the top three of each of the four majors but never taken the final step, has turned to Canadian Sean Foley.