Eddie Pepperell joined the crowd of Sunday's early supernovas, shooting 66 to propel himself up the leaderboard. As the Telegraph's James Corrigan noted in his post-round presser, he "led the Open Championship on a Sunday" for a short time, before hitting his tee shot on the Road Hole out of bounds.
Regardless, he's an incredibly interesting, thoughtful person, and his kind of intelligence is a rarity in golf, and professional sports in general.
This BBC mini-profile is a great place to start, but the real fun is at Pepperell's personal blog, which documents his journey to the pro ranks. His writing is refreshing both for its intelligence and honesty—he philosophizes extensively about the loneliness of life as a professional, the pitfalls of fame, and the difficulty inherent of playing a game that can ruin you psychologically.
He began his blog in December 2012, writing, "I am somebody who currently doesn't like the conventional way of planning, and if I may also add, I seem to have acquired quite a nasty taste for convention itself." His second entry focused on his frustrations with people asking him for things now that he had money—Pepperell wasn't born rich—and in the years since, he's continued that pattern of open, free associative writing.
One thing he's not is bland, and he's not afraid of being ungrateful by the hordes of fans who believe that golfers' lifestyles should preclude them from any and all complaints.
Seriously, what other athlete do you know that could write something like this, on how struggle defines our lives:
"I want to explain the problems with asking...I mean asking for something that will, or could elevate you somewhere, or to something, resulting in you avoiding a critical experience. It is by truly indulging in these experiences that the possibility of premature success, happiness or fulfilment never materialises. Shortcuts that are presented to people should be very carefully considered, and almost always rejected, as they enhance the likelihood of a premature outcome or feeling."
That's some incredibly profound stuff by any standard, and Pepperell delivers the goods over and over. For someone who never read a book until age 19, but who now reads all the time and claims it has changed his entire approach to life, it's very impressive stuff.
Speaking about his errant drive on 17 Sunday, Pepperell was very self-critical, even going so far as to say that this type of mistake is the reason why he hasn't yet won on the European Tour (he won a Challenge Tour event in 2012 and made a playoff in this year's Irish Open).
It's probably not realistic to expect a huge run for him tomorrow, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't root for him to pull off a miracle -- athletes this interesting were always rare, and in today's world of increasingly narrowed focus, they're practically extinct.