When Sam Forgan was 16 years old, he attended his first Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in the small town of Hoylake at the northwest corner of the Wirral Peninsula.
That 2006 event saw Tiger Woods claim the title just months after his father had passed away.
It was an experience burned in Forgan’s memory.
“There were 50,000 people following him around,” said Forgan, who lettered for Louisiana Tech from 2009 through 2013. “It was the first time I had been to a professional event, and I thought it just won’t get any better than this.
“On the 18th, we couldn’t get a spot so we were quite close to the walk way. Tiger walked past and he is sobbing. He is absolutely sobbing. It was the first major he won after his father died. He was inconsolable.
“When I think of Open Championships, I think of that week. I got a feel for it that week. How big an event it was. But also how good you have to be if you want to win that event. I think I can make it every year. I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think I could.”
On Tuesday, Forgan sank a 10-foot par putt on the final hole to tie for second at Prince’s in an Open qualifier and earn a spot in the 149th Open set for July 11-18 at Royal St. George’s.
Forgan, whose wife Morgan – who he met at Louisiana Tech – is expecting the couple’s first child this year, will fulfill a lifelong dream.
“For me growing up in the UK, I think the (British) Open is the major,” said Forgan, who grew up in Stowmarket, England. “It’s the golf tournament. It’s the only major in our time zone. It’s courses we relate to. I think there is something that makes it a little more special for some reason.
“I wouldn’t classify myself as an overly patriotic person, but playing in the (British) Open Championship … it would be something that when you look back at your career and know you have achieved something. You would know you played against the best. It would be huge. I would love to play and I would love to do well.”
Forgan, who turned 31 in May, opened the qualifier with a 72 on Monday before shooting a two-under-par 70 yesterday. He joined Deyen Lawson (70-71-141) and Connor Worsdall (67-75=142) in the top three, thus earning the opportunity of a lifetime.
Forgan played his collegiate career in Ruston for coach Jeff Parks and the Bulldogs. He was a four-time Academic All-WAC honoree who competed in 36 career tournaments at Louisiana Tech.
He showed his abilities early in his Tech career, recording a seven-under-par 65 in the second round of the Squire Creek Invitational his rookie season.
PHOTO: courtesy LA Tech Athletics
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