19-year-old Jimmy Mullen qualifies for this month’s Open Championship
Royal North Devon golfer Jimmy Mullen has qualified for the Open championship later this month.
Mullen, from East-the-Water, came through a local qualifying tournament in North Berwick, Scotland on Tuesday, winning against a strong field which contained three former Ryder Cup players.
And his coach, Royal North Devon Head Professional Iain Parker, believes the 19-year-old has what it takes to be a success at Britain’s major championship.
“The way he’s progressed is a wonderful, Hollywood story,” said Parker. “He won against a field of 110 players in the regional qualifiers and now he’s won in the final qualifying up in Scotland against three former Ryder Cup players, too.
“It’s a little bit like someone from Exeter City being signed by Manchester United.
“He’s been a stand out prospect since he started playing here at nine years old. He’s a fantastic talent.”
Mullen has been plying his trade at elite amateur level, showing good form with a number of top ten finishes, including fourth in the South of England Championships and eighth in the West of England Championships.
“I can’t quite believe it yet,” said Mullen. “I don’t think I’ll believe it until I’m actually there.
“I had to turn my phone off because it took about three hours for me to find out I had qualified and I was getting about 100 calls a minute from people telling me I had.
“I’m going to try and play a practice round with some big names so I’m not overwhelmed when I’m on the first tee and to gain as much information from them as possible.”
Mullen is now hoping to play with Tiger Woods, but admits it is unlikely he will get to tee it up with the 14-time major champion.
“I’d love to play with Tiger Woods but I’d probably need to make the cut to get that chance and he’ll be at the top of the leader board after two rounds,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to playing with anyone from the European Tour though. It will be a good learning curve.”
The teenager does not have plans to turn professional in the near future and is hoping to be selected for the Walker Cup – the amateur equivalent of the Ryder Cup, contested between the USA and GB & Ireland – in 2015.
“The plan is to play the Walker Cup before going pro. England Golf are supporting me at the moment and hopefully I’ll be playing for them again soon.”
The Open Championship swings into action at Muirfield, Scotland, on July 18-21, with practice rounds starting on July 14.