Brandon Wu is hoping to play a practice round with fellow Stanford alum Tiger Woods after qualifying for the British Open at Royal Portrush.
Wu took his place in the field alongside Woods after taking the lead spot of three in Final Qualifying at Fairmont St Andrews. Wu, who went 3-0 in match play last month to help Stanford win its ninth NCAA Championship, shot rounds of 64 and 67 to post a 9-under 131 to finish three shots better than Scotland’s Connor Syme, and by five shots over Syme’s countryman Sam Locke, winner of the Open’s silver medal as leading amateur at Carnoustie last year.
“If Tiger offered me a practice round, I don’t know, if the schedule fits…I’m joking, of course I would,” Wu said. “I’ve met him a couple of times, he went to Stanford and if he’s in the area he’ll often come by and say hi. He was team mates with our head coach Conrad Ray, so there’s a connection there.”
Wu, who finished T35 in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, should be well used to links golf when he tees it up in his first Open Championship. An intense introduction to seaside golf helped the world’s number six ranked amateur prepare for Final Qualifying.
“I came over a week ago and got acclimated,” Wu said. “It’s been a tremendous week. I got off the plane and played Lundin Links then the Old Course on Friday. I did the Muirfield experience on Saturday, playing 36 holes there, then played North Berwick on Sunday.”
Wu’s only previous experience of the Open involved watching Stanford’s greatest player play in the championship, along with a few other names.
“Memories of the Open? Seeing Tiger dominate when he won. (Tom) Watson when he came really close (in 2009). Sergio (Garcia) as well (2008). Rory winning (2014). There’s been some special moments.”
Now he has the chance to make special moments of his own to add to his Pebble Beach experience.
“I think it’ll be cool to see the differences between the two (US Open and Open), but I’ve been playing for a while now so I’m just focusing on playing well and keeping it going.”
Garrick Porteous, the 2013 British Amateur champion, shared first spot with fellow Englishman Jack Senior at St Annes Old links, with another Englishman in Matthew Baldwin taking the other place.
English Amateur Curtis Knipes finished equal first on 9 under at Prince’s Golf Club with countryman Callum Shinkwin. Canada’s Austin Connelly finished third.
Three Englishmen took the top three spots at Notts Golf Club. Andrew Wilson finished first on 7 under. Amateur Thomas Thurloway was one shot back, with Ashton Turner taking third place on 5 under after defeating David Coupland in a playoff.