TWO years ago Mark Young topped the Northern Order of Merit standings while European Ryder Cup star Justin Rose was lifting the 2013 US Open.

On Tuesday the pair practised together as equals ahead of The Open Championship which starts today in Scotland.

East Lancashire’s Young has been a professional for less than 12 months but he has been rubbing shoulders with some of the game’s greats.


Yesterday saw him out on the greens with top 10 stars Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson and today he will tee off at 3.40pm alongside American Daniel Berger and Swede Pelle Edberg.

And the 33-year-old Clitheroe Golf Club star believes he is ready for the pressure of the first swing on the first tee at the home of golf when he takes aim at the par four, 375-yard opening hole.

“I am certainly less nervous hitting tee shots now I have been here for a couple of days, certainly on the first tee,” said Young who travelled to Scotland from the Ribble Valley on Sunday morning.

“I travelled up on Sunday morning and practised on Sunday afternoon and ever since really.

“It was all a bit of a wow moment on Sunday but it’s not so bad now.”

World number one Rory McIlroy may be missing but American sensation Jordan Spieth and 12-time Major champion Tiger Woods will be in the field.

Young admits the tournament has been a huge, if expected, learning curve.

“It was a great experience playing with someone like Justin Rose,” said Young.

“I was playing in a fourball with Tommy Fleetwood, Garcia and Stenson today.

“It has all been a great experience.”

Young, who has been a multiple Northern Order of Merit champion, says he is not setting any targets for the tournament.

“There is absolutely no pressure on me,” said the former Longridge golfer.

“I am just going out there to enjoy it, if I make the cut it is an amazing achievement. It’s been an amazing achievement just to get here.”

One thing Young won’t be short of is support from Clitheroe and his former club Longridge.

He said: “There are loads of people coming up. I imagine those places will be like a ghost town.”