Gavin readies himself for Open debut

Picture by Paul Lakatos|Asian Tour
Gavin Green in deep discussion with his father- caddie Gary during the official practice round on Wednesday.

I was able to catch up with Gavin Green once again on Wednesday – this time after he completed a nine-hole practice on Carnoustie’s tough back nine.

The young Malaysian noted that the famed and fearsome finishing holes at Carnoustie haven’t intimidated him too much yet but if he has one game plan it is to stay out of Carnoustie’s 111 bunkers.

Echoing the words of world number one Dustin Johnson who spoke yesterday (Tuesday) Gavin said today: “I’ll be aiming to keep out of them for sure. It’s not like a lot of the courses we play where you can hit the green from a fairway bunker – here you can’t and it will cost you at least a half-a-stroke and probably a stroke. In many cases all you can do is chip out sideways. I haven’t been in too many in practice but visited a few deliberately just to see what my options might be.”

“In contrast, if you miss the fairway and find the rough, there’s a good chance you can get it onto the putting surface. There are a few patches of thicker rough but most of it is pretty wispy.”

When asked how he was coping with Carnoustie’s finishing holes, and whether he agreed with Padraig Harrington, who won here last time The Open was in this corner of Scotland, in 2007, that it’s the last four that pose the real challenge, not just the final three.

“For sure you have to include the 15th when you talk about the closing holes,” Gavin said. “So far they haven’t really shown their teeth but then we have had very little wind, and that makes a huge difference. If the wind is against you on 15, 16 and 18 I can imagine that it will be a very different sort of challenge.”

Last year’s Asian Tour Order of Merit winner has plenty of support this week as he tees it up in his first Major championship. He told the Asian Tour: “I have my entire support team here with me including my swing coach, my mental coach and my physio. My dad will be on the bag for me and that’s good as we’ve been working together pretty well the past few events.”

“It’s very humbling to be able to represent Malaysia in a Major like The Open. I am very happy to have the opportunity to do so and I hope that I can continue to make the country proud.”

“I’m excited, of course! You can feel the buzz in the air and I’m just going to go out there, try to enjoy myself and do the best that I can. I’m just trying to stay a little grounded and not get too excited. ⦿

Martin Vousden is an experienced golf writer and editor based in Scotland, near Carnoustie. A respected member of the Association of Golf Writers, he  has served as The ClubHouse’s UK correspondent  and columnist since 2012.