Sherry to mix with cream at the Open

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The Independent Online


reports from St Andrews

Gordon Sherry, under the watchful eye of the coach, Bob Torrance, stood on the practice ground and smashed balls towards the beach that featured in the film Chariots of Fire, writes Tim Glover. It was an impressive display but his rhythm was interrupted when he was given news of the draw. "No", he said, disbelievingly. "No."

Sherry, the 21-year-old amateur champion from Kilmarnock, will partner Tom Watson and Greg Norman, who between them have won seven Opens, in the first round tomorrow. "It just came out of the hat like that?" Sherry asked. He said it with the expression of a man who knew that the Royal and Ancient would reward its amateur champion.

"I suppose Tom and Greg will be saying that they're playing with Gordon Sherry. I always knew it would happen eventually but it's a bit earlier than I thought."

Sherry, 6ft 8in and 16st, is enjoying an unforgettable year and last week he finished fourth in the Scottish Open at Carnoustie, the best performance on record by an amateur in a European Tour event.

If the rise of Sherry has been astronomical, the same can be said for Martyn Thompson. An assistant professional at a club in Dorset, last summer he caddied for the then amateur champion, Lee James, at the Masters in Augusta. Thompson has battled through regional qualifying and final qualifying for his place.

However, one caddie who will not be taking part is Tip Anderson. The 63-year-old has carried Arnold Palmer's bag in every Open that the American has played in, including the victories in 1961 and '62. But during a practice round Anderson, who has a dodgy leg, found it hard work and Palmer, on compassionate grounds, had to advise the Scot to stand down.

Meanwhile, Gary Player received a special honorary degree from St Andrews University yesterday. He attended the graduation ceremony wearing the underpants and socks of Bob Charles. Player's luggage had gone missing so he had to raid the wardrobe of Charles with whom he is sharing a house.