SOUTHPORT, England ' Chris Wood became the latest amateur to find success at Royal Birkdale, a decade after Justin Roses spectacular chip on the 72nd hole gave him a share of fourth at the British Open.
Wood survived getting stuck in a bunker to finish tied for fifth Sunday, showing signs he has the potential to follow his fellow Englishman into the pro ranks.
Just not yet. Unlike Rose, who was 17 when he had his eye-catching finish in 1998, turned pro a day later and then went 21 tournaments without making a cut, Wood isnt rushing into things.
Not at the moment, no, the 20-year-old said after his 2-over 72 left him at 10 over for the tournament, seven behind winner Padraig Harrington. Im having a week off.
The gangly 6-foot-5 Wood played soccer when he was growing up but gave up thoughts of becoming a star after a serious knee injury.
I couldnt play for ages, lost interest in football and obviously had a lot more time to practice my golf, he said. Every year Ive improved so far.
Wood was awarded the silver medal as the leading amateur, and clearly wasnt comfortable with all the extra attention.
I dont know what to say, to be honest, he said. I havent had time to think about anything at the moment.
Wood started the week with just his family and friends watching him play, and his father, Richard, carrying his bag. Like Rose, he chipped in on his last hole to shoot an even-par 70, although his shot was in round two.
Its been the best week of my life, he said. The support Ive had from my family, my friends, my coach, my trainer drove up this morning. Everyone at my golf club has just been overwhelming this week, and I expect I won a few more over in the crowd.
Wood finished the tournament in front of a huge gallery, boosted by playing partner and fellow Englishman Ian Poulter. The colorful star finished second with a 7-over 287 total.
Hes such a great player, played Ryder Cup, and hes such a nice guy going round, Wood said of Poulter. It was probably the best moment of the week for me to see him holing that putt on the last. I was just so pleased for him.
Woods only sticky moment came when his tee shot landed in a greenside bunker at the par-3 12th.
He wound up with his feet wide apart, one of them in the sand and the other in the grass, and tried to splash out. But the ball stayed in and he had to play his third shot from the trap.
Wood made a brilliant recovery, his second bunker shot rolling toward the pin and finishing two feet short for a bogey.
He sounded far from being an Open novice when he described his reaction.
(I thought) its probably not my day, Wood said. I didnt really hit two bad shots and got completely penalized for not being that far off. But thats links golf. I felt like I dealt with it quite well, and it was just unfortunate having three bogeys in the middle of the back nine.
Thats not what you need to win tournaments like this.