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As far as Open Championship berths go, it's been a challenging one for Trey Mullinax. Not only has he had to navigate the humps and bumps of a baked out Old Course with little prep, he also had to play the opening two rounds with a putter that was damaged en route to the famous venue.
The American secured the last spot in the field courtesy of winning last week's Barbasol Championship, and after a mad dash to get to Scotland, was left aghast at the sight of his clubs sprawled unprotected in his travel bag.
Video: Perks of winning The Open
"I had to get my stuff bent back because all my clubs were out of my bag when I got here," he said. "A lot of clubs were bent. I guess they took the irons out and didn't put them back in my golf bag, it was just laying in the travel case."
As for his putter, "I knew it looked funny," he told reporters here on Saturday. According to the American, it was two degrees out of whack when he took to the course on Thursday.
"I was having to tell my caddie, 'Man, I'm having to forward press this a lot'," he added. "I was like, 'Man, I don't know what's going on'. The ball wasn't rolling like it was in Kentucky. Surely I didn't lose it in two days."
To his credit and in spite of the unknown handicap, rounds of 71 and 73 saw him through to the weekend at the Home of Golf. From a strokes gained perspective, he ranked 87th out of the 156 starters after 36 holes, but with his putter's integrity restored, Mullinax made an early third-round charge to vault up the leaderboard with a six-under 66.
"I putted a lot better today. Shooting 66 out here is never bad. I was just trying to keep up with Kis the whole time. I mean, he was putting phenomenal. I started making some putts. It became kind of like who can make the most birdies?"
As for his first taste of links golf, "this is such fun," he added. "Getting to hit shots I've never hit before. [Last week] you're taking gouging divots out in Kentucky and you can barely get the ball in the air here, it's great."
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A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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