Amateurs in name only as college kids pass test

Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:22pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) - If Oliver Schniederjans had been offered a nine-under par finish at a weather-ravaged British Open he would have signed instantly thinking the silver medal for best amateur was in the bag.

Yet the American played second fiddle to compatriot Jordan Niebrugge who finished two shots better off for a tied sixth place finish -- earning an exemption into next year's tournament.

Both finished in the top 12 while Ireland's Paul Dunne began the fourth round co-leader and threatening to become the first amateur to win golf's oldest major since Bobby Jones 85 years ago.

Dunne's challenge faded on the homeward nine but the 144th British Open will be remembered as much for the fearless amateurs as much as Zach Johnson's playoff victory.

Schniederjans, who joins the professional ranks on Tuesday, carded a final round 67 to roar up the leaderboard while deep into the final day Dunne, Niebrugge, England's Ashley Chesters were still going toe-to-toe with the paid ranks.

France's Romaine Langasque also finished below par.

What might look like an anomaly could become quite common according to Schniederjans -- whose plain blue jumper will soon be decorated with the names of sponsors.

The world's top-ranked amateur in 2014 said the American college scene is so strong, most of the top players on it would hold their own or even challenge for majors.   Continued...