Open 2016: Scott Gregory enjoying atmosphere of first major

Scott Gregory
Scott Gregory beat Scotland's Robert MacIntyre at Royal Porthcawl to qualify for Royal Troon
Venue: Royal Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland Dates: 14-17 July
Coverage: Listen live on Radio 5 live, follow live text on the BBC Sport website from Thursday. Highlights on BBC Two and online. Click here for full details

British amateur champion Scott Gregory hopes to keep things simple on the links of Royal Troon as he prepares to tackle his first major.

Hampshire's Gregory will tee off on Thursday having already secured places at next year's Masters and US Open.

A chance to secure the silver medal for leading amateur is an added incentive.

"My goal this week is to just play the best I can," the 21-year-old told BBC Sport. "I've just got to go out there and shoot the best score."

Sandy Lyle and David Duval will partner Gregory for the first two rounds. But he has another major champion in fellow former Hampshire amateur Justin Rose to thank for raising his profile.

"My Twitter followers went through the roof once Justin started following me after the win at Royal Porthcawl," said Gregory.

Rose first grabbed headlines when he finished tied fourth as an amateur at the 1998 Open at Royal Birkdale, a day before turning professional.

"I'm hoping to catch up with him this week for an insight into that, but so far our only real chats have been on Instagram and Twitter.

"But it's been great to meet all the guys I have so far, who I'm used to seeing on television."

A practice round on Tuesday with 2012 US Open champion Webb Simpson also offered Gregory a glimpse into the potential professional world that awaits.

"It's just seeing how someone like him goes about playing four weeks consecutively and how you manage your body through it," he said.

"Those kind of things about life on tour and are going to be useful going forward."

59 years of past combined Open experiences

While Gregory is playing in his first Open, he will be in the presence of two former winners of the famous silver claret jug, Sandy Lyle and David Duval, who number 59 past appearances between them.

1985 Open champion Lyle, now 58, is playing in his 41st Open. Only Gary Player, with 46 consecutive appearances from 1956 to 2001, has played in more.

American Duval, 44, who won at Lytham in 2001, will be competing in his 20th Open, having only missed two since the former world number one first jetted over in 1995.

The threeball are scheduled to go out out fourth on the first morning, at 07:08 BST, with a more civilised tee time of 12:09 on the second day. And, although the weather forecast is not great, Gregory will have plenty to talk about with them on the way round.

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