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Assessing the amateurs' chances at St. Andrews

ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND -- There's good and bad news if you're one of the seven amateurs competing this week at the British Open. The good news? It's been seven years since an amateur failed to make the cut in the championship, the last time it happened being 2003 at Royal St. George's. The bad news? In the last eight championships held at St. Andrews, only one amateur golfer has placed in the top 20, Lloyd Saltman finishing T-15 in 2005.

So who has the best chance of taking low amateur honors and joining the eventual champion at Sunday's awards ceremony? Here's a look at the contenders and their odds of playing all four rounds at the Old Course.

Jamie Abbott, 23, England
Odds of making the cut: 50-1
Skinny: He's been a regular on the English golf team since 2007, but this is his first experience in the Open Championship. He proved some mettle by surviving a playoff in qualifying at Kingsbarns to get into the field but this week's competition is likely going to be a whole new world for the Englishman.

Laurie Canter, 20, England
Odds of making the cut: 50-1
Skinny: His past victories include the South African Amateur and something called the Hampshire Hog. Not sure if that's going to help him very much here this week.

Tyrrell Hatton, 18, England
Odds of making the cut: 50-1
Skinny: The youngest played in the field (turns 19 Oct. 14), Hatton slowly is making a name for himself in the U.K., his best performance being sixth place showing at the Brabazon Trophy (the English Amateur stroke-play championship). Might be a little too starry eyed this week, however.

Byeong-Hun An, 18, South Korea
Odds of making the cut: 25-1
Skinny: The U.S. Amateur champion is playing in his third major and his ninth pro tour event of the year, so first-tee jitters should be decreasing. However, he has yet to shoot better than 75 in his four major rounds and was 18 over in two rounds last weekend in the Barclays Scottish Open. The spoils of his Amateur victory are about to end, allowing, perhaps, for an inspired few days on the Old Course.

Eric Chun, 20, South Korea
Odds of making the cut: 25-1
Skinny: The rising junior at Northwestern won the Big Ten title as a freshman and finished runner-up at the Asian Amateur last October, which got him a spot in International Final Qualifying. He then birdied the final hole to earn a trip to St. Andrews. Gained a bit of local knowledge this week by playing with another Wildcat, former Northwestern All-American Luke Donald, which might come in handy.

Jin Jeong, 20, South Korea
Odds of making the cut: 15-1
Skinny: While living and practicing in Australia, Jeong made history by being the first British Amateur champion from Asia. He shot a 63 at Hillside in the last month, breaking the course record by two strokes (Stephen Leaney and Alex Cejka) so he seems comfortable on links style courses. Had a bit of a stumble last week with an 81-79 showing at the Barclays Scottish Open, but seems to have a fair bit of confidence.

Victor Dubuisson, 20, France
Odds of making the cut: 12-1
Skinny: His win in last year's European Amateur qualified him for a tee time at the Old Course. He recently shot a 66 in the French Open and has the most polished game of any of the seven amateurs in the field, according to several tour pros that have watched him play.

-- Ryan Herrington

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July 28, 2014

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