I managed that first shot on instinct. Relief. Excitement. We were off

Diary of an Open outsider
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The Independent Online

Enjoyable but disappointing. That's the best way I can explain my first day playing in the Open. It was enjoyable because I didn't know whether I'd be too nervous to do myself justice yet I loved every minute, even when I was struggling. It was bit disappointing because I ended at 11 over par. But then given the conditions, being out there at lunchtime in the worst of the wind, it was only a bit disappointing.

Enjoyable but disappointing. That's the best way I can explain my first day playing in the Open. It was enjoyable because I didn't know whether I'd be too nervous to do myself justice yet I loved every minute, even when I was struggling. It was bit disappointing because I ended at 11 over par. But then given the conditions, being out there at lunchtime in the worst of the wind, it was only a bit disappointing.

I woke up at 6am with butterflies. They were still there when I got to the course at 9.45am. I went to the players' lounge for breakfast but all I could stomach was a bowl of cornflakes. Then it was off to the range. Seeing all my friends who'd come up from Cornwall helped me relax a bit. They had T-shirts with my name on the back and there was even a banner saying "In Godfrey We Trust", which got a couple of airings near the greens.

I practised for 45 minutes and felt pretty good, getting in the right frame of mind. And then it was on to the first tee for the 11.37am start, playing with Ian Woosnam and Dudley Hart, who put me at ease straight away. I couldn't have played with two nicer guys.

When my name was first called out it felt like it wasn't happening. It was like a dream sequence, waiting to play that first shot. I had to call on all my years of practice to pull a swing from somewhere. I managed it, on instinct I think. Relief. Excitement. We were off.

On the first five holes there wasn't really hit a bad shot. Par, par, par, birdie, par. On the sixth I hit a bad shot, pulled it to the left of the green into the rough. I thought I did well to get up and down for a bogey. I shot par on the seventh and then things got tricky.

The conditions had really deteriorated and the wind was up. The eighth was the turning point. After a good drive, I pulled my second with a two-iron and found a tree that I didn't even know was there. It was about eight foot tall and it seemed to appear out of nowhere. The ball was nestled right up to the trunk. I took a penalty drop, chipped on to the green and then missed the putt for a double-bogey.

On the ninth I put it in the right-hand rough. It was a really bad lie and couldn't do anything with it. Then I three-putted for another six. I knew then I was going to struggle the rest of the way. On the 10th and 12th, for example, I didn't really hit bad drives, but one rolled into the thick stuff while the other landed in a bunker.

The important thing was that I tried hard on every shot, so although I kept making bogeys there was no way I was going to let my head drop. I felt that especially as I walked up the fairway to the 18th green. I've watched people walk up the 18th so many times on television and wondered how it must feel. Very special, I now know.

The crowd was cheering and I was looking for my parents, but I also had to compose myself because there was still a two-putt to make for par. I didn't want to mess up in front of all those people. I didn't.

Now it's time to do it all again, starting at 6.41am. If the weather's the same again, the early start could work in my favour. I'll be out before the wind's up. Realistically the cut's out of the question, but I'm going out to give it my best, enjoy it, try to improve on my score and prove I can live with these players. It's been tough out there, but hey, even a player of the calibre of David Duval shot 12 over, one more than I did. And he lifted the Claret Jug two years ago.

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