British tee for English a local first

British tee for English a local first

July 18th, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sports - Professional

Baylor School coach emeritus King Oehmig.

Photo by Staff File Photo/Times Free Press.

Baylor School coach emeritus King Oehmig is among the kings of Chattanooga-area golf historians.

According to him, one of his former players will be making area golf history Thursday. He said Baylor alumnus Harris English will be the first person from Chattanooga to participate in the British Open.

"I think he's making a lot of history," said Oehmig, who coached English from 2004 to '07. "I think he's already made history."

English shot a 17-under-par 123 to win the International Final Qualifying America on May 20 in a two-round day that began with a 10-under 60 at Gleneagles Country Club Queens Course in Plano, Texas.

"I kind of lost track of how many straight birdies I made," English told GolfWeek after that day. "I was relaxed; I had some fun. I was striking the ball really well. In fact, I was doing everything really well."

English, who grew up in Thomasville, Ga., before moving to Chattanooga to attend Baylor, has some experience playing on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. He went 2-2 in his 2011 Walker Cup matches with both victories coming in head-to-head match-play events.

"He has shown that he can play on the PGA Tour in America, and having been on that Walker Cup team provides him experience and a comfort factor while being over there in the cradle of the game," Oehmig said. "I'll be glued to the TV."

English, a PGA Tour rookie who earned his card through Q-School, ranks 82nd in the FedEx Cup standings and has earned $845,236. He has made the cut 15 times in 19 events with two top-10 finishes.

"He has exceptional strength and length, and he's unflappable as a competitor," Oehmig said. "That is what you need over there, because you'll be in all kinds of odd places on the golf course.

"I wish I could fly over if he's in contention on Sunday, but I don't know if I can work that out."

English is in the group scheduled to tee off at 8:21a.m. EDT Thursday.