The Open 2014: Amateur Ashley Chesters keeps the British flag flying


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The Independent Online

Ashley Chesters, a 24-year-old amateur from Shropshire, took up the UK challenge after Rory McIlroy, eclipsing a cluster of players with far bigger reputations.

Chesters, who is presently looking for management representation, opened and closed with birdies, to card a fine two-under-par 70. The search might soon be over if he keeps it all together today.

He might do worse than ask Lee Westwood to put a word in with his manager, Chubby Chandler, who has on his books last year's Amateur and US Amateur champions, Garrick Porteous and Matt Fitzpatrick.

In return Westwood can ask for tips on how to get around Hoylake. Only joking Westy. The former world No 1 opened with a 71 to ridicule his own assessment of his form coming into this tournament.

Westwood, rattled by missing the cut at the Scottish Open last week, was critical of his lack of preparation and poor scheduling. Some hard grind on the range this week paid dividends with a typically resolute display when it comes to the majors.

The man who swept to victory in Scotland, Justin Rose, could do no better than par in pursuit of a third successive victory. Mind you, he was slow out of the gate in Aberdeen.

Ian Poulter required all his Ryder Cup mettle to recover an awful outward nine that saw him reach the turn four over par. An eagle at the par-five 10th and a birdie at the next was the antidote his round needed, and a birdie at the last saw him in with a one-over-par 73.

Luke Donald earlier set the precedent for 73s, gained with a birdie at the final hole. Chris Wood, out in the third group of the day, bookended the English experience with the first birdie of this year's tournament, recorded at the first hole.

Graeme McDowell went straight to the range to locate his missing armoury after an opening 74. "I'm not really controlling my ball flight the way I need to. I can't hit a cut at all. My cut is non-existence at the minute," he said.

"It is very difficult to play links golf when you're not able to shape it both ways, especially when the greens are as firm as this. You really need to be able to hit a cut to control your ball flight, and I'm not doing that well right now. It's disappointing."

Sir Nick Faldo's flirtation with major golf at 57 is looking more of an indulgence, though his 76 was six shots better than Sandy Lyle, who closed on 10 over par.

It could be worse, Sandy. Australia's Bryden Macpherson shot 90 to stand 18 over par. His round included an eight and two sevens. On the plus side, he played par golf on eight holes.