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It’s one of the most prestigious prizes for amateur golfers.

The Silver Medal is awarded to the amateur with the lowest score at The Open every year – and its roll of honour includes some very big names.

Over the years the list of winners has included those who went on to become greats of the game, as well as those whose star faded quickly.

Here are nine you might have forgotten won the Silver Medal…

Hal Sutton

1981, Royal St George’s

Sutton turned up in Kent with a huge reputation as one of golf’s rising stars. Having excelled on the college scene, he was still an amateur at the time of his first Open, and claimed the Silver Medal. He turned pro soon after, and went on to become on of the stars of the 1980s on the PGA Tour. Just two years after his success on the Kent coast, he would enjoy major glory at the 1983 PGA Championship. After a period in the wilderness, Sutton rediscovered his best form and was among the world’s top players around the turn of the millennium.

Jose Maria Olazabal

1985, Royal St George’s

Olazabal, above with Payne Stewart, arrived at Sandwich looking to make history – and did just that. Having already won the 1983 Boys’ Amateur, the British Amateur the following year and the 1985 British Youths Open Championship, the then-19-year-old Spaniard needed the Silver Medal to become the only man in history to win every medal offered by the R&A at the time. He did just that, finishing in a tie for 25th. Olazabal would go on to become a legend of the game, winning two Masters titles, becoming a Ryder Cup icon and captaining Europe at the Miracle at Medinah in 2012.

Tiger Woods

1996, Royal Lytham & St Annes

A certain Eldrick Tont Woods already had a burgeoning reputation when he turned up in Lancashire for the 1996 Open. He didn’t disappoint either, finishing three-under in a tie for 22nd. In the same year, he became the first man to win three consecutive US Amateur titles, before turning pro. The following spring, Tiger Mania really took off with his breakthrough win at the Masters, and 15 majors and nearly three decades later, he is still the biggest name in golf.

Justin Rose

1998, Royal Birkdale

Rose shot to stardom as the new poster boy of British golf when he holed his third shot at the 72nd hole at Birkdale. Just 17 years old, it propelled him to a tie for fourth and won him the Silver Medal. His pro career didn’t get off to the start he wanted – he missed his first 21 cuts in a row – but, after a few tough years he found his feet, winning the 2013 US Open, claiming Olympic gold in 2016 and starring in several successful Ryder Cup teams.

Lloyd Saltman

2005, St Andrews

Scottish teenager Saltman won the hearts of the public with a stirring display at the Home of Golf in 2005, eventually finishing in a tie for 15th. He had already enjoyed a successful amateur career and continued to do so after his Open exploits, playing on two Walker Cup teams. He found things a little tougher after turning pro, but did make a notable appearance at Turnberry in 2009 alongside his brother Elliot as one of just a handful of pairs of siblings to appear in major championships.

Rory McIlroy

2007, Carnoustie

Baby-faced, curly-haired Northern Irish 18-year-old Rory McIlroy rocked up at Hoylake in 2007 and promptly stunned the world of golf by signing for the only bogey-free round on the opening day. That helped the youngster to the Silver Medal, but that was only a flavour of what was to come. Four majors, dozens of tour wins and being eminently relatable helped McIlroy become one of the biggest stars in the game.

Chris Wood

2008, Royal Birkdale

Big things were expected of Wood after his outstanding Open debut. Finishing in a tie for fifth, he turned pro later that year and promptly did even better at Turnberry in 2009, tying for third – his best major performance to date. He made the 2016 Ryder Cup team but has struggled with injuries and a loss of form since.

Matteo Manassero

2009, Turnberry

]Back in 2009 Manassero had the world at his feet. Qualifying for the Open by virtue of becoming the youngest-ever winner of the British Amateur, the then-16-year-old played alongside Sergio Garcia and eventual runner-up Tom Watson during the opening two rounds. He made the cut and finished in a highly impressive tie for 13th. He followed that up the following year when, still a few days shy of his 17th birthday, he became the youngest player to ever make the cut at the Masters. Sadly his career hasn’t followed the trajectory many thought it would, but he has been playing some decent golf on the Challenge Tour and still has time to get back to the top level.

Matt Fitzpatrick

2013, Muirfield

One of the top British golfers of the present day, Fitzpatrick followed up his US Amateur victory by taking home the Silver Medal from his trip to Muirfield. He’s excelled since turning pro, too. In addition to winning the US Open in 2013, the Sheffield native became the youngest Englishman to win five times on the DP World Tour, has played in two Ryder Cups and climbed as high as 16th in the world rankings.


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