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There are two chances for a special piece of Open Championship history to be created at Royal Birkdale this week.
No player has ever won both the silver medal for low amateur and the Open at the same venue – but that opportunity presents itself to both Justin Rose and Chris Wood on the Southport links.
Rose tied for fourth in 1998, while Wood tied for fifth the last time the championship was held at Royal Birkdale in 2008. Speaking about returning to the site of one of his most precious golfing memories, Rose said: “I think 2008 was my walk down memory lane, and I think 2017 is ‘lets play golf’. I’m really looking forward to it.
“Obviously there’s some good memories there but I feel like I’ve done the return-to-Birkdale thing in 2008. So I’m excited about being able to focus on the championship with a fresh mind.”
Interestingly, only two of the players who have won the silver medal since it was introduced in 1949 have gone on to lift the Claret Jug: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
Woods won the silver medal at Turnberry in 1996 and went on to win the championship proper in 2000, 2005 and 2006. McIlroy, meanwhile, was the low amateur at Carnoustie in 2007 and subsequently won the main spoils at Royal Liverpool seven years later.
Should neither Rose nor Wood win this year, McIlroy will have the opportunity to claim this little piece of history for himself next year, when the championship returns to Carnoustie.
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