Golf: Dublin qualifier excited about first St Andrew’s Open

by Gazette Reporter
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BY BRIAN KEOGH

He’s shot 57 on tour — the lowest round ever recorded in a world ranking event —has a faster on-course ball speed than Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm, drives the ball as far as Bryson DeChambeau and dreams of lifting the Claret Jug.

No, he’s not the newest US golf sensation or a product of the American college system, but 26-year old Dubliner David Carey who is not afraid to do things his way as he battles to make all his dreams come true in The 150th Open at St Andrews.

Dressed in a Ben Hogan-style white cap bearing a four-leafed clover and the number 57, Carey qualified in style by winning the Final Qualifier by four shots at Fairmont St Andrews.

He’s unconventional in that he abandoned the amateur set up in Ireland as a successful Boys international to turn pro aged just 18 seven years ago and while he has yet to get off the Alps Tour, he’s convinced his hard work will eventually pay off. Making it to the biggest golf tournament in the world is just the start.

“I think the only thing I can really fairly expect for myself is to go out there and do my best and try to commit to every shot,” said Carey, who modelled his game on DeChambeau for a while (single-length shafts and fat grips and all) and even managed to play with the Mad Scientist in practice.

“Beyond that, I don’t know. If I commit to every shot, I’ll go have a good week because that’s one of the hardest things in golf, to pick a line and don’t think, ‘don’t miss it here’, ‘don’t miss it there’.

“That bit I can control. What do I hope for? I hope to have the Claret Jug in my hands on Sunday.

“I’m sure a lot of people will say that but I’m not sure how many really believe that they can.”

You do? “Of course. I know I can do it. If I don’t do it this year then it will be some year in the future. I mean, Mr Hogan’s life story shows that if you put enough work in and you keep trying it can be achieved.”

Carey shot to fleeting worldwide fame on the Alps Tour in 2019 when he opened with an incredible 11-under par 57 en route to victory in the Cervino Open on the Alps Tour in Italy in 2019.

He made 11 birdies at 5,303-metres (5,801 yards), par-68 Cervino Golf Club in the shadow of the Matterhorn close to the Swiss border, just over 2,000 metres above sea level.

While the lowest officially recorded round is a 16-under 55 by Australian Rhein Gibson in 2012, Carey’s 57 is the lowest recorded on a professional tour.

“Being the 150th and at St Andrews, that’s kind of a very special occasion,” he said. “When you are walking up the 18th and the town and R&A clubhouse, it is just a special place and event. Everything about it, it is kind of unique, the whole experience.

“When you are practising and trying to prepare for things, this is what you are getting ready for. I remember my Dad used always give out because I’d be looking at stats and stuff and I would be comparing my stats to Tiger and he would say you are not playing against Tiger, you don’t have to do this or you don’t have to do that, you only have to do this much.”

“Well, this is what I have been getting ready for. I mean it is more of an excitement. There is a certain amount of pressure but this is what you want to be doing. You want to be on the biggest stage playing in the biggest events.”

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