We take a look at the eight amateur golfers vying for the Silver Medal at the 149th Open Championship
Open Championship Amateurs 2021
Eight amateurs will tee up at the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s this year, attempting to win the Silver Medal. That prize was taken most recently by Scottish youngster Sam Locke, whose score of +9 was enough to triumph at Carnoustie in 2018.
But who are the runners and riders trying to follow in his footsteps this time around?
Who Are Open Championship Amateurs 2021?
Sam Bairstow: WAGR ranking – 122nd
Bairstow was the last of the eight amateurs to qualify for this year’s Open but – despite also being the second lowest ranked – is one of the favourites to win the Silver Medal.
Bairstow shot a course record 63 in his first qualifying round at St Annes Old Links before following it up with a 69 to secure qualification.
The 21-year-old left hander has had some equally impressive results this year with a sixth placed finish at the Scottish Men’s Open, fourth in the St. Andrews Links Trophy and fifth in The Amateur Championship leaving him in great form ahead of his maiden Open Championship this week.
Cole Hammer: WAGR ranking – 8th
Hammer is the highest ranked amateur in the field this week – 8th – and is coming in to the Open with a significant amateur career already under his belt.
A former world number one amateur, Hammer also has two Walker Cup appearances, two US Open appearances and has made a PGA Tour cut already in his short career.
At his time at the University of Texas, Hammer was also Big 12 Conference Champion.
The 21-year-old American has some experience on link courses, playing the 2019 Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool, so has his sights firmly set on capping off his amateur career with the Silver Medal.
Laird Shepherd: WAGR ranking – 176th
One of the great stories ahead of the 149th Open, Laird Shepherd found his way into the Championship through one of the most dramatic Amateur Championship finals in history.
Having been eight down at one point in his match against Monty Scowsill, Shepherd muscled his way back into the match and won in dramatic fashion having also been four down with four to play in the final.
Prior to this, Shepherd was ranked outside the top 800 amateurs in the world.
Should he claim the Silver Medal this week, he will join Jin Jeong, Matteo Manassero and Stuart Wilson as the only players this century to win the Amateur Championship and Silver Medal in the same year.
Yuxin Lin: WAGR Ranking – 18th
The second left-handed amateur in the field this week, Lin secured his place at the 149th Open thanks to a victory at the Asian-Pacific Amateur Championship, joining Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama as two time winners of the event.
He first won the event in 2017 over fellow Chinese player Andy Zhang and then again in 2019 beating then number one world amateur Takumi Kanaya in a playoff.
Lin moved to Los Angeles on a scholarship at the University of Southern California in 2019.
Matthais Schmid: WAGR ranking – 12th
Schmid is the only non-professional in the field not making his debut at the 149th Open after he qualified in 2019 by winning the European Amateur Championship.
He didn’t make the cut at Royal Portrush in 2019 and the Silver Medal went unclaimed – no doubt his 2019 experience will give him an advantage over his fellow amateurs this week.
Schmid has had an excellent 2021 so far, appearing at the US Open in June and recording a top-15 finish on the European Tour at the BMW International Open in Germany.
Joe Long: WAGR ranking – 13th
Joe Long’s wait to appear in his first Open Championship has been, well, long.
After missing out on qualifying for the 148th Open when finishing third at the 2019 European Amateur Championship, he went two places better in 2020 by winning the event.
That win secured him his place at the 149th Open Championship, which was of course delayed in 2020.
After playing at The Masters, US Open and Walker Cup this year, Long is finally able to make his Open debut at Royal St. George’s this week.
Christoffer Bring: WAGR ranking – 37th
The winner of this year’s European Amateur Championship with a 20-under par score of 264, the former Danish boys champion arrives at The Open in excellent form.
Like Cole Hammer, the Dane studied at the University of Texas and majored in communication and leadership while he was living and playing golf in Austin.
He is also the winner of last year’s Danish amateur match play championship.
Abel Gallegos: WAGR Ranking – 97th
Argentine Abel Gallegos claimed his place at the 149th Open thanks to his victory at the Latin America Amateur Championship back in 2020.
Gallegos was two behind the leader going into the final round and produced a stunning four-under-par 67 to triumph over Columbian Jose Vega by two shots.
He is from the small town of Veinticinco De Mayo, a few hours south of Buenos Aires, and learned the game on a 9-hole golf course called Las Mulitas – ‘Little Mules’ in English.