The Open: Robert Lee was far from overwhelmed on his debut at Royal St George’s in 1985


After qualifying for his first main the week earlier than, Robert Lee loved the “buzz” of being in competition on the midway stage of The Open at Royal St George’s in 1985. Right here he recollects the “Sky Sports activities Leaderboard”!

Final Up to date: 13/07/21 8:13pm

Lee was two off the lead at the halfway stage

Lee was two off the lead on the midway stage

Robert Lee performed his first Open Championship at Royal St George’s in 1985 and has fond reminiscences of his debut, notably as he was in competition on the midway stage together with a number of Sky Sports activities colleagues….

I shot 68 within the first spherical, and that was my first ever spherical in an Open Championship. That had me tied for second, however extremely I used to be 4 photographs off the lead after Christy O’Connor Jnr fired a 64 – with a persimmon driver and balata – that’s some rating!

Simply to get into The Open, I wanted to play nicely at The Belfry the week earlier than as there have been three locations up for grabs on the Lawrence Batley Worldwide Golf Basic. I performed with David Frost within the remaining spherical, and I went into it considering a 69 can be sufficient to get me to Royal St George’s.

Christy O'Connor shot a remarkable 64 in round one

Christy O’Connor shot a exceptional 64 in spherical one

Positive sufficient, I used to be three underneath for the day taking part in the final gap, realizing a par would earn an Open debut. The 18th, at The Belfry, into the wind – I do not assume you may play a more durable gap with that a lot on the road.

I hit drive, wanted a two-iron for my second, simply missed the inexperienced to the proper, however I chipped it to about three toes and holed the putt for my 69, and though I completed tied for twelfth and 9 photographs behind Graham Marsh, that was sufficient to qualify for The Open.

I used to be fairly assured heading into my first main as I used to be in nice type and taking pictures loads of low scores, together with a 61 in Monte Carlo. I had come so near qualifying earlier than, dropping in play-offs and being excessive on the reserve listing, after which I discovered the higher means in was to play nicely within the event earlier than!

For a lot of younger professionals, taking part in at The Open for the primary time, with big crowds and a buzzing environment, it may be an amazing expertise. However I liked it, the extra noise the higher for me. I used to be in my factor.

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In these days, crowds for golf tournaments tended to be a little bit sparse, so The Open was in a league of its personal. After I’ve heard athletes from quite a lot of sports activities during the last 18 months speak about how powerful it may be to carry out and not using a crowd, I perceive that absolutely.

The thrill and the hum round an Open is particular, and if you happen to embrace that, it is like a drug. And it was the identical with the additional media consideration I used to be getting. When you make some noise over the primary couple of rounds, you anticipate that, however it did not hassle me in any respect.

I additionally acquired to play with Bernhard Langer within the third spherical, and he was the reigning Masters champion on the time. He was a scorching property in golf, and at all times was a prime bloke. We had been really degree with one another halfway via the spherical, however sadly I let a number of photographs slip coming in.

And we had a weird scenario when play was suspended on account of thunder and lightning. Again then, there have been no buggies or vehicles despatched out to ferry the gamers again to the clubhouse, and we had been miles away. However there was a home on the sting of the course, proper the place we had been, they usually invited us in to shelter in there! Good espresso too!

Robert Lee made his Open debut at Sandwich in 1985

Robert Lee made his Open debut at Sandwich in 1985

As soon as we acquired again on the course, I got here in with a 74 which left me six off the lead going into the ultimate spherical, however that did not imply I might “freewheel” it on Sunday. I’ve by no means fairly understood that, the notion that there is much less stress on you after a foul spherical.

To me, there was much less stress the upper up the leaderboard you had been. Whenever you weren’t taking part in so nicely, that is after I felt the stress. When you’ve performed poorly and assume the subsequent spherical would not actually matter, you are solely unsuitable, in my view.

I closed with one other 74 and completed tied for twenty fifth, so my first expertise of The Open was a constructive one. And after I look again on the midway leaderboard, it is filled with acquainted names. I used to be up there, so was Wayne Riley, Tony Johnstone and Howard Clark, so we name it the “Sky Sports activities Leaderboard”!

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Open reminiscences are at all times nice, all people loves The Open. Having contended in a number of occasions earlier within the yr, I used to be not daunted by the prospect of tackling Royal St George’s in any respect. I acquired to the purpose the place I used to be wishing I might do that each week!

You always remember your first Open, and mine was an superior week. It was nice enjoyable, and one thing I look again on with nothing however good reminiscences.


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