Ellis impresses seasoned pros on eve of Open bow

Harry Ellis, left, with Justin Rose and Richard Bland, right, during the final day of Open practice. Picture: Andrew Griffin
Harry Ellis, left, with Justin Rose and Richard Bland, right, during the final day of Open practice. Picture: Andrew Griffin
Harry Ellis tees off at the second during day one of The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club.  Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Ellis struggles on Open debut

The Open starts on Thursday

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Harry Ellis gave two of Hampshire’s established tour players a glimpse of his potential on the final day of Open practice at Royal Birkdale.

The British amateur champion was joined by 2013 US Open winner Justin Rose and Southampton’s Richard Bland on the Lancashire links today.

And it was the Meon Valley rookie who regularly outdrove his professional buddies and showed the sizeable crowd why he is one of the most exciting talents in the country.

Ellis, who gets his maiden Open under way at 9.25am on Thursday, said: ‘It was an absolute pleasure to play with them.

‘I’ve loved every minute of it – it’s the first time we’ve all played together. It’s great to see how they play, it’s the reason why you see them on TV each week.

‘I think I can make the cut in my first Open. My goal is to be there on Sunday collecting the Silver Medal – but obviously just to finish as high as possible.’

Rose, who famously came through final qualifying to take the Silver Medal as the leading amateur back in 1998, said: ‘It’s tough to give very profound advice.

‘He looks pretty confident and pretty comfortable. You don’t want to get in his head too much.’

Bland, who is gunning for his first European Tour victory after 413 attempts, was equally complimentary.

He said: ‘Harry has a huge future in the game. He hits it differently to most people. I see him winning big tournaments in the future.’

Ellis has been drawn with the 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke and American Gary Woodland.

They will tee off before the worst of the predicted wind and rain arrives but they may not be so lucky on Friday, with a 2.26pm start.