Garrick tees off in pursuit of Silver Medal

Picture by JANE BARLOW. 16th July 2013. England's Garrick Porteous with (left) Jim Furyk from the USA ahead of the 142nd Open Championship at Muirfield in Gullane, East Lothian.
Picture by JANE BARLOW. 16th July 2013. England's Garrick Porteous with (left) Jim Furyk from the USA ahead of the 142nd Open Championship at Muirfield in Gullane, East Lothian.

Bamburgh Castle golfer Garrick Porteous has set his sights on the Silver Medal awarded to the leading amateur in The Open.

The 23-year-old takes his place at Muirfield on the back of a stunning success in the Amateur Championship last month.

And he has a mouth-watering draw to look forward to alongside former USPGA champion and Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer and Australian Jason Day, a runner-up in three majors.

Porteous tees off at 8.22am today and 1.23pm tomorrow.

His main ambition will be to make the halfway cut and bring the prestigious Silver Medal awarded to low amateur within his grasp.

He heads into his first major championship with confidence sky-high after helping England to victory in the European Team Championships held in Denmark last week.

Porteous, who lives in Morpeth and plays off a handicap of +4, put together a “perfect six” 100% record of three wins in both the foursomes and singles over the parkland Silkeborg club.

He knows the East Lothian links, playing firm and fast after weeks of dry weather, will be a completely different test of golf but nevertheless believes his game is well placed to make the transition.

“I don’t think it will make any difference,” said Porteous. “I don’t need to prepare for links golf in that sense because I grew up in the sport playing the links at Bamburgh and I’ve had two days of practice before the Open starts.”

However, he was still eager to pick up precious words of advice from playing partners Jim Furyk, a former US Open champion, and 1997 Open champion Justin Leonard in Tuesday’s practice round.

Yesterday he was out early to practise with Danny Willett, last year’s BMW International champion.

“The sort of shots you need on a links course are second nature to me and that factor kicked in during this year’s Amateur Championship, which was played on a links course at Royal Cinque Ports in Kent,” said Porteous.

“I have played Muirfield five times, including a previous Amateur Championship.

“The sort of shots you need at Bamburgh are the same sort of shots you need at Muirfield – you don’t need to flight the ball so much. I know how to hit it low, hit it high and how to chip and run.”

Porteous’ success at the Amateur Championship earned him invitations to The Open as well as next year’s US Masters at Augusta and the US Open.

He is a virtual certainty for inclusion in the GB and Ireland Walker Cup team to face the Americans at Long Island in September. This season he has already won the Scottish Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship and was runner-up in the Welsh Strokeplay.

He also recently signed a three-year contract with Chubby Chandler’s ISM sports mangement company which looks after the likes of Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke.

Porteous is not the only local represented at Muirfield - Goswick course manager George Thompson and his assistant Ryan McCulloch are on duty.

George, a veteran of two previous Opens at Muirfield, is on fairway detail and Ryan is on the greens. The pair are on a nine-day secondment with the host club.