The Open 2011: Shadbolt ready for The Open

FORMER Sir John Lawes pupil Tom Shadbolt is not letting the hype surrounding The Open Championship get to him as he gears up for his debut in the event.

Shadbolt practised alongside US Open champion Rory McIlroy and fellow Herts professional Ian Poulter at Royal St George’s last week, but is unfazed by being in such illustrious company.

“When I was playing [at Royal St George’s] on Wednesday Poulter and McIlroy were there, but I’m not too fussed about all that.

“It’s still another golf tournament with 18 holes and flags and you still have to go there, hit the shots and play your golf.

“I’ve never been in that environment before, but they are only trying to do the same thing that I will be doing.”

Shadbolt, who has been drawn with fellow WGC golfer Mark Laskey and Australian qualifer Rick Kulacz, tees off today (Thursday) at 10.59am.

He added: “You can’t really set yourself targets as you don’t know what the wind will be like or the conditions, you literally hit each shot as it comes, I’m looking forward to it.”

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There will be a heavy number of supporters cheering on Shadbolt as he negotiates his way around the course.

“I’ve rented a house nearby so all my family will be coming down and a few sponsors are coming to support,” he said.

“Brocket Hall are going to do a little trip for some of the members to come and watch so it will be good and an enjoyable week.”