Malaysia’s rising star Gavin Green battled to an opening one-over-par 72 in his debut Major appearance at The 147th Open at Carnoustie on Thursday.
The big-hitting Green, who averaged 354 yards off the tee, marked his card with five birdies against six bogeys to trail by six shots at the world’s oldest Major championship.
“I hit it good. The bogeys were just bad breaks. I didn’t stay short enough of the pot bunkers but I was learning. My ball striking was good. Three of my birdies were all tap-ins. A couple of times I hit it into the bunkers and had to chip it out but overall, a one-over to start my first Major, I’ll take it,” said Green.
The 24-year-old Malaysian sealed his place in the year’s third Major by winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit crown last year, where he claimed one victory and five top-10 finishes.
He is the first Malaysian and the second youngest player, following a then 19-year-old Noh Seung-yul of Korea in 2010, to have achieved the feat on the region’s premier Tour.
Despite closing with two straight bogeys, Green kept his head up and remained optimistic of putting up a lower score on Friday.
“I was just cruising out there. But towards the end, I just hit a couple of bad shots at the wrong time. I wasn’t nervous out there. I was calm and cool so it’s fine. We will keep to the same game plan tomorrow and just be careful of the bunkers which cost me two shots today.
“It wasn’t that tough coming down the stretch I think. I just hit shots that I shouldn’t hit. It was a good save for bogey on 17,” added Green, who earned his Asian Tour card for 2017 after finishing second on the 2016 Asian Development Tour Order of Merit.
Green, who has his father Gary on the bag this week, is the third and youngest Malaysian, following Iain Steel (1996) and Danny Chia (2005, 2008 and 2010), to qualify for The Open.
Green, ranked 203rd place on the latest Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), also had the opportunity to represent his country at the prestigious 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero.