EAST LOTHIAN, Scotland – After winning a local final qualifier to punch his ticket to The Open Championship as an amateur, University of Kentucky men’s golf senior Ben Stow had a strong effort in the first round of the prestigious tournament Thursday, shooting a 5-over-par 76 to sit tied for 92nd at Muirfield.
“Ben had a great start today at The Open at 1-under-par through the first six holes,” said UK head coach Brian Craig. “He had a tough finish but can still make the cut with a solid round tomorrow.”
Stow, who was in the second tee grouping on Thursday along with Sweden Robert Karlsson and American Todd Hamilton, started the first round with a birdie at the par-3 third hole surrounded by five pars to sit 1-under-par for the day through six holes. However, the UK star couldn’t keep up his hot play, making the turn at 3-over-par before finishing his round bogey, birdie, bogey to end the day at 5-over-par 76.
Stow, Karlsson and Hamilton will be in tee group No. 28 Friday with a 6:44 a.m. ET tee time. Stow is one of seven amateurs in The Open Championship field this year.
“I know that if I play my game, then I can do something here,” Stow told TheOpen.com earlier in the week. “It’s called The Open for a reason. Every year, there’s someone who comes out of the woodwork to do well and hopefully that can be me. Those four days can change your life, so who knows what’s going to happen.”
The Open Championship, which is one of four major tournaments on the Professional Golf Association Tour, is being played at historic Muirfield golf course in Scotland. According to The Open Championship website, Muirfield is widely regarded as one of the finest golf courses in the world and is hosting the championship for the 16th time.
Stow made it into the tournament after winning a 72-player local final qualifying at Gullane Golf Club earlier this month. The native of Salisbury, England, carded a 2-under-par 140 at the 36-hole qualifier to seal his spot in The Open Championship, including a tournament low 3-under-par 68 in the second round to take over the lead.
Stow, who joined the Wildcats in the spring of 2013 after sitting out the fall semester due to transfer rules, competed in all eight spring tournaments for Kentucky, earning Division I PING Midwest All-Region honors. Stow made his debut with the Wildcats in the Mobile Intercollegiate, finishing tied for 27th, while his best finish on the year came in the Schenkel Invitational, where he finished tied for ninth at 1-under-par. Stow's best round of the season came at the Gary Koch Invitational when he carded a 4-under-par 68 en route to a career-low 54-hole score of 215. Stow also posted a 54-hole score of 215 at the Southeastern Conference Championships. The talented golfer finished first or second on the UK team in six of his eight events in the spring, leading the Wildcats in the spring with a stroke average of 73.92.
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