Matthias Schmid expressed near disbelief when told winning the silver medal as low amateur in the 149th Open Championship meant he had joined a club that includes former medalists Justin Rose (1998) and Rory McIlroy (2007).
Schmid finished on 2-over-par 282 to beat China’s Yuxin Lin by four shots for low-amateur honours. The young German earned his spot at Royal St. George’s by winning last year’s European Amateur championship, successfully defending the title he won in 2019.
“I just got told some of the names that have been on the list for a silver medal, and I’m proud of myself I was able to join it this week,” said Schmid, No. 12 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. “That was the goal coming in here.
“I mean, the likes of Justin Rose, McIlroy. It’s something special to play well here as an amateur. I guess it doesn't happen too often. So I’m very, very happy that I could do it this week.”
Wait until the 23-year-old has a proper read of the list of former silver medal winners. He’ll be even prouder of his four rounds – 74, 65, 71 and 72. He joins a list that includes amateur legends Frank Stranahan (1949-51 and ’53), Joe Carr (1956 and ’58), Charlie Green (1962), Ronnie Shade (1966), Sir Michael Bonallack (1968), Peter McEvoy (1978-79) and Jay Sigel (1980). As for other future major winners besides Rose and McIlroy who used the silver medal as a stepping stone, how about Hal Sutton (1981), José María Olazábal (1985) and a guy called Tiger Woods (1996).
Throw in European Tour winners Paul Broadhurst (1988), Russell Claydon (1989), Jim Payne (1991), Chris Wood (2008), Matteo Manassero (2009), Tom Lewis (2011) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (2013) and Schmid really does join an elite club.
Schmid matched Tom Lewis’ amateur record 5-under-par 65 in the opening round of the 2011 championship with a 65 of his own in this year’s second round.
Schmid and Lewis will have much to talk about should that club ever have a get-together. Schmid got his hands on the coveted prize after matching the 18-hole scoring record for an amateur that Lewis set in 2011. Two-time European Amateur champion Schmid matched Lewis’ amateur record 5-under-par 65 in the opening round of the 2011 championship with a 65 of his own in this year’s second round, a score that helped him join Lin for the weekend while fellow amateurs Laird Shepherd, Joe Long, Cole Hammer, Christoffer Bring, Sam Bairstow and Abel Gallegos missed the cut.
“I got off to a rough start on Thursday, where I didn’t play too badly but obviously had a terrible finish,” Schmidt said. “So I was pretty hurt after Thursday.
“Friday afternoon was obviously huge. I was very nervous, but I kept it together. I played solid and had a lucky break there, a couple lucky breaks at the end, which you need, especially with things going wrong on Thursday.
“I'm happy to stand here with the silver medal.”
It was a far cry from his previous Open. Schmidt qualified for the 2019 championship at Royal Portrush thanks to his 2019 European Amateur victory but missed the cut. He more than made up for that this year.
Lin had to hole a 4-foot par putt Friday on the 18th to reach the third and fourth rounds.
“This week is just an unbelievable experience for me,” said Lin, 18th on the WAGR. “Being able to play on the weekend, playing two extra rounds with the best players in the world, it’s just a great experience.
"I’ve learned a lot this week ... more about my game and areas to improve and what I’m doing well."
So did Matthias Schmid.