The Open 2018: Sam Locke, 19, wins Silver Medal, is last Scot standing at Carnoustie
|The 147th Open Championship|
|Venue: Carnoustie, Scotland Dates: 19-22 July|
|Coverage: Live across BBC Radio, highlights on BBC TV and online, live text commentary and clips on the BBC Sport website|
Sam Locke, the teenage amateur from Stonehaven, won two prizes in one after making the cut at the Open Championship right on the bubble at three over par.
On the day that Sandy Lyle said farewell to the Open with a birdie on the 18th hole that brought roars of appreciation if not a place in the field for the weekend, Locke guaranteed himself the Silver Medal for the championship's leading amateur, given that no other amateur made it through.
The last time Scotland won the Silver Medal was 13 years ago when Lloyd Saltman secured it at St Andrews. On top of that, Locke, the product of the Paul Lawrie Foundation and a part-time coffee shop worker at Lawrie's golf centre in Aberdeen, will be the leading Scot after his countrymen Lyle, Russell Knox, Scott Jamieson and Grant Forrest all missed the cut.
For much of the day, it looked like no Scot would make it, an embarrassment that has only ever happened once (2006) in the entire history of the Open. The teenager made sure that another piece of grim history was not written.
Locke's day began early and it finished late as he awaited word of his fate. The amateur followed up his opening round 72 with a second-round 73 to finish on three over at the halfway stage.
"Hopefully the rain pours down and the wind comes," the 19-year-old said after his round.
His plea for inclement weather fell on deaf ears, but he survived regardless. Just like Lyle on Thursday, Locke was in the opening threeball at Carnoustie on Friday, rising from his slumber at 03:45 to make his tee time just under three hours later. It was quite an adventure for him. He bogeyed the second hole and double-bogeyed the third to sink to four over.
At that point you would have drawn a line through his name as a contender for low Scot, low amateur and Silver Medal winner.
"I had a bad start and felt like I had to dig quite deep to pull something back," said Locke. "I was getting a bit worried and I thought just keep plodding away. You never know what's around the corner in this game."
He came up with three straight birdies on 13, 14 and 15, then gave one of them back on the treacherous 16th. Standing on the 18th he was right on the then-cut mark of two over. The celebrated, and feared, 18th has dismantled the hopes of many men at Carnoustie and it bit Locke, too. A wayward drive put him in trouble and would set up a tall order on the green ahead, a long putt for par to keep himself at two over. It missed by the width of a cigarette paper.
Locke will now emulate the illustrious winner of the Silver Medal the last time the Open was held at Carnoustie. An exciting prospect from Northern Ireland won it on that occasion in 2007, a kid by the name of Rory McIlroy.
'No regrets' for former champion Lyle
Unless some kind of golfing miracle happens and Lyle qualifies to play in next year's championship, we will not see the veteran on this stage again. The 1985 Claret Jug-winner signed off with a gorgeous birdie on 18 for a nine-over total and admitted he had a lump in his throat walking up that final fairway.
"I was on cloud nine," he said. "It's been 40-plus years I've played in this tournament."
Actually, this was his 43rd Open. Only Gary Player has played in it more times than the Scot.
"I have no regrets," he said. "I've had a good run. If qualifying is up here in Scotland and I'm living up here, I might just give it a run in the next few years. That would be it."
Forrest posted a 73 on Friday but it was not enough to repair the damage wrought by his opening round of 80.
Knox, the hero at the Irish Open a fortnight ago, ran on empty all week here and missed the cut by a shot. He didn't spare himself in the analysis.
"I battled as hard as I could," the Inverness native said. "I was useless, though. The last eight weeks caught up with me and I ran out of gas. I felt great on the golf course but my swing just disappeared.
"I can count on two hands how many shots I mishit in a week at most tournaments. The last two days I can count on one hand how many really good shots I hit. I just didn't have it."
Knox will return to America on Monday to rest and regroup and continue his bid for Ryder Cup selection in September. Locke, meanwhile, has some golf to play.