SOUTHPORT, England – Alfie Plant is an adrenaline junkie. He’s bungee-jumped off the tallest bridge in South Africa. He’s gone cage diving with Great White sharks and walked with lions. On his 16th birthday, he went sky-diving, and in 2012 he ran the London Marathon.
Perhaps that’s why the 25-year-old amateur from Bexleyheath, England, wasn’t nervous when he stepped on the first tee Thursday morning at Royal Birkdale for his first British Open – and major – start.
“I think the excitement overran the nerves,” said Plant, who birdied the tough opener in equally tough conditions.
How tough was No. 1? Three players in the first three groups hit their tee shots out of bounds. Last week’s winner, Bryson DeChambeau, made triple, as did the world’s second-ranked amateur Maverick McNealy.
“I was quite surprised that the ball went straight really,” Plant said. “I didn’t feel it come off the clubhead.”
One thing Plant did feel was support. He estimates he had more than 100 family, friends and other supporters following him, some of them with shirts and hats donning the hashtag #TeamAlfie.
“I’m sure a few of them were in the beer tent,” Plant quipped. “… Hopefully I’ll pick up a few more supporters along the way.”
If he keeps up the solid play – Plant shot 1-over 71 with three birdies on Thursday – that won’t be hard.