Scott Godfrey: I feel nervous and scared, quite frankly. But I can't wait to get to the first tee

Diary of an Open outsider
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The Independent Online

How bizarre is this? Normally before a big tournament, I'd be reading players' diaries. As a fan, they're the first things I look for in newspapers or magazines, to get a flavour of how the person is preparing, how they think they're going to perform. And here I am writing one.

How bizarre is this? Normally before a big tournament, I'd be reading players' diaries. As a fan, they're the first things I look for in newspapers or magazines, to get a flavour of how the person is preparing, how they think they're going to perform. And here I am writing one.

I still can't quite believe that at 11.37am I'll be standing at the first tee, hitting my first drive in the Open. I've been playing since I was eight, I grew up admiring Nick Faldo and I was nine when he won his second Open in 1990. And although I've played competitively for years, winning the 1998 English Boys' Championship and 2001 Amateur Championship, this is a different matter entirely.

I went into qualifying at Littlestone on Sunday with no real expectations. My priority was to relax and enjoy myself. I did. The first is a short but tricky par four. After a two iron and an 80-yard approach, I holed from 10ft for my first birdie of the day. I was up and running.

After another birdie on the fifth I knew that I had a low score in me. I was feeling comfortable. I finished with 69, two under par, and for the first time I believed I could qualify.

On Monday, I was awake at 5am for a 7am start. I birdied the first hole again and was three under par by the turn. Thoughts of The Open started filling my head and by the time I'd holed a two-foot putt on the 18th - it felt like 10ft, at least - I just felt a sense of relief wash over me. Then I realised it was still only 11am and I'd have to wait all day to see if I'd made it. It was the longest day of my life.

I went back to my hotel and tried to sleep. No chance. I eventually went back to the course at 4pm to find things were still in the balance. It looked like a play-off so I started warming up. But at 6.30pm, with the last group coming up to the final hole, I knew I was in.

I was standing with my caddy, Chris Game, my mum and dad, Keith and Meg, and my coach, Darren Gass, and we just started laughing. No official came to confirm the news but the scoreboard spoke for itself. I was sixth and there were seven places. It didn't seem real.

I phoned my brother, Christian, to tell him the news. He was back home in Wadebridge, Cornwall, looking after the family garage. He said: "I can come on Thursday but not on Friday. I've got to get back for a petrol delivery."

We had a few celebratory drinks on Monday but not many. I was very aware this was just the start of the adventure, not the end. And there were practicalities to arrange. We'd only booked our hotel in Folkestone up to yesterday because I didn't expect to qualify. We'd intended to watch the practice days as spectators then go home.

Instead, on Tuesday my parents sorted out a house for the week. It was pot luck. We found a three-bedroom place in Deal for five of us. I went to Royal St George's to register and to pick up my security passes. That's when it hit me. The first person that I saw on the practice ground was Tiger Woods. He was walking so fast I thought he was going to knock me over. I just thought, "Unreal. I'd better get out of the way."

The next shock came at the first tee of my practice round. I found Paul Lawrie, the 1999 Open champion, waiting for me. After the first few holes I started to relax and felt I held my own. But I was surprised at the amount of blind tee shots and how hard it was to pick out the flags with the grandstands behind the green. I'll need to get used to it quickly.

Yesterday my first priority was a visit to the manufacturers. I'd run out of clean clothes and was grateful that adidas and Taylor Made gave me enough new gear to see me through. Then I had my second practice round with Gary Wolstenholme, a friend and fellow amateur.

I felt a lot more comfortable than on Tuesday and even when Jesper Parnevik joined us for the last nine holes I didn't start to panic. For some reason - can't think why! - the crowds started following us from the 10th onwards. I even found myself signing loads of autographs.

So how do I feel now? Nervous and scared, quite frankly. But I can't wait to get to the first tee.

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