They call it the Open Championship. We call it the British Open.
By any name, Rhys Enoch is going to call it home in a couple of weeks.
Enoch, a former East Tennessee State golfer, qualified for the oldest major golf championship in the world this week. He'll be in the field July 17-20 at Royal Liverpool, also known as Hoylake.
"Obviously, every golfer dreams of playing in the Open," Enoch said. "That's part one. Now that I'm in it, I really want to focus on playing well and not just 'taking part.' "
Enoch shot rounds of 70 and 68 at Woburn Golf Club in central England. That got him into a playoff with Australian professional Jack Wilson and English amateur Tomasz Anderson.
In the playoff, Enoch earned his place in the Open in spectacular fashion. On the first extra hole, his approach went through the green. He chipped in for birdie to punch his ticket to Hoylake.
"I chipped it poorly all day, so to end on a chip-in was sort of funny," Enoch said.
Enoch will be the third ETSU player named "Rhys" to play in the Open, joining Rhys Davies (2009, '10 and '11) and Rhys Pugh (2013).
The 26-year-old Welshman has played on the European Challenge Tour and the Sunshine Tour in Africa this year.
"I've been playing nicely most of the year," he said. "But the last few weeks haven't been quite as good, but obviously things are turning back around. I drove the ball great and I've been struggling with that recently and that's normally a strength of mine. So I was really happy about that."
Current ETSU golfer Tom Hegarty's father, John, is the head pro at Hoylake.
"I've only played it once in a practice round last year with Tom," Enoch said. "It's a nice course."
The Open could be the big break Enoch has been chasing.
"All kids dream of the Open," he said. "It's an amazing event and I can't wait to be a part of it."comments powered by Disqus