Gavin Kyle Green walked away from the biggest moment of his young career as coolly as he approached it, steadily negotiating the unaccustomed vagaries of links golf and the entirely new experience of competing in a Major championship.
The Malaysian number one wrapped up his Major debut at the 147th Open Championship with a three-over-par 74 to tie 61st place on six-over-par 290 total at the Carnoustie Golf Links.
Despite failing to end his campaign on a high note, Green kept his chin up as he takes in the positives from what has been a successful week for the young Malaysian.
Round totals of 72, 73, 71 and 74, against a par of 71, showed remarkable consistency for a Major rookie, with very little experience of the sort of challenge offered by a hard, fast-running links course.
“It was a very successful week, making the cut in my first Major is huge. I wished I had played better but it is what it is,” said Green. “It’s a huge learning curve and a great experience. I like playing links golf. There’s a lot to learn so hopefully I can come back stronger next time.”
The way in which he adapted is evidenced by the fact that, in each of the last two rounds he made par on 14 holes. He was also lucky with his tee times, going out in the last group in Friday’s second round, by which time the wind and rain that battered early starters had subsided.
It meant he outplayed and outlasted such notable names as Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, world numbers one and two respectively, along with other heavily backed golfers such as Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter.
“This is The Open. I enjoyed it a lot. I really couldn’t have asked for more, making the cut and finishing what I finished. It’s a huge part of me and it has expanded my confidence. It’s nice playing alongside the big guys here this week. I felt pretty comfortable. It’s fun,” he noted.
Green, who earned his place at The Open by virtue of being the 2017 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, was the third Malaysian, following Iain Steel in 1996 and Danny Chia in 2005, 2008 and 2010, to qualify for the year’s third Major championship.
He became the second Malaysian, following Danny Chia in 2010, to make the halfway cut at The Open. Chia came in tied-55th in what was his third attempt that year.
Nevertheless, his first taste of Major championship golf will have left Green with mostly positive memories and the belief that he has the game to compete at the very highest level. And with a tied 61st finish, with prize money of over $21,000, his bank manager won’t be too displeased either.