Scott Gregory had the ultimate roller-coaster ride as he outscored his two playing partners, former champions David Duval and Sandy Lyle, in today’s first round of The Open at Royal Troon.
Portsmouth-born Gregory shared the lead at one point on his debut in golf’s oldest major and was still flying high when he moved to four-under after covering the first 10 holes without putting a foot wrong.
But the 21-year-old Corhampton Golf Club member, who secured his place in the 156-strong field by winning the Amateur Championship at Royal Porthcawl in Wales last month, saw the wheels come off over the tough inward stretch on the Ayrshire course.
He ran up two triple-bogeys and a double-bogey as he limped home in 45, signing for a seven-over-par 78 that left him disappointed, even though the effort beat 2001 winner Duval and 1985 champion Lyle by four and seven shots respectively.
‘It was pretty cool to be leading The Open,’ said Gregory, who lives in Waterlooville.
‘If nothing else, that’s a positive to come out of today – and it is something I want to be doing after 72 holes in my career.
‘I just made one bad swing at the 11th (where he took a seven – the same as Lyle while Duval ran up a nine) and it spiralled from there.
‘Unfortunately, it wasn’t my preferred wind out there (coming from the left on the back nine) so I’m away to work hard.
‘I want to be here at the weekend and I still believe 100 per cent that I can be.
‘I’m not giving up. I’ve learned from today and it won’t be happening tomorrow.’
Gregory added he felt fine on the first tee until his name was announced.
‘I felt nervous after that but opened by hitting one of the longest irons I’ve hit all week,’ he said, smiling.
As his round was falling apart, the situation wasn’t helped when Gregory was told that he’d been put on the clock along with Duval.
‘I’ve never been on the clock before and I didn’t handle it too well,’ he admitted.
‘I rushed a couple of shots and I’m ticked off with myself for that.
‘Again, I will learn from that.’