While the stellar names were heading home from the PGA Championship, a 22-year-old from Abingdon was introducing himself to the audience.
Say hello to Eddie Pepperell, who finished his second round with four successive birdies yesterday to post a 69 and close on four under par, two off Francesco Molinari’s lead.
A qualifier from the European Challenge Tour, the fresh-faced Pepperell made light of the appalling conditions to inject some uplifting news into a tournament listing under the wrong kind of headlines. No offensive remarks from this kid, only a big smile and oodles of enthusiasm.
“Fortunate to be here,” he said. “When the entry lists came out I didn’t think I had a chance to be honest. It’s probably the best event I’ve ever been part of. It’s a new feeling for me, but I’m doing all right, hanging in there.”
He is doing rather better than that. Half the Ryder Cup team have gone home. Only Molinari of the Medinah miracle workers went lower. Lee Westwood is poised one shot back at three under alongside Open Champion Ernie Els. Not bad company to keep. “I got some great support [as] I’m local. I’ll certainly be going for it,” he said.