Mullinax goes from Kentucky to Scotland, doesn’t miss a beat

Jul 15, 2022, 7:18 PM | Updated: Jul 16, 2022, 7:21 am
Trey Mullinax of the US during a practice round at the British Open golf championship on the Old Co...

Trey Mullinax of the US during a practice round at the British Open golf championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland, Wednesday July 13, 2022. The Open Championship returns to the home of golf on July 14-17, 2022, to celebrate the 150th edition of the sport's oldest championship, which dates to 1860 and was first played at St. Andrews in 1873. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — Trey Mullinax was in Kentucky one week ago, sitting out a rain delay at the Barbasol Championship and facing a long trip across the country to the next PGA Tour event in the hopes of turning his season around.

Seven days later, he walked off the Old Course at St. Andrews with a 6-under 66 in his British Open debut.

Even for a slow-moving sport like golf, plans can change quickly.

“A little bit of a blur,” Mullinax said Saturday with a smile.

He was the last player to qualify for the 150th Open, which reserved a spot for the leading player from the Barbasol Championship — given no one in the field was eligible for the Open, whoever won had the chance to come over to Scotland.

Mullinax, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, didn’t even bother bringing his passport with him.

“I was in such good form heading into that week,” he said with no small measure of sarcasm. He had missed the cut seven times in his last 11 starts. He was 150th in the FedEx Cup, needing to get going or lose his full status.

And then he played 34 holes the next day, made a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win in Kentucky and was on his way to Scotland for his first British Open — his first test on links golf, his first major in five years.

First, he had to go back home to Alabama to get his passport. He flew with his father to New York, on to Dublin, over to Edinburgh, up to the gray, old town, and was on the tee by about lunchtime Tuesday.

One day he was taking envelope-sized divots from the rain-soaked turf of Kentucky, and then he was on a links some 600 years old on turf he had never experienced.

“You get the ball in the air here, it’s great. So it was totally different golf courses,” Mullinax said. “But this is such fun, getting to hit shots I’ve never hit before.”

One of them came Saturday. He was a little left off the tee at the par-4 17th, and the pin was all the way to the left side of the green. The nefarious Road Hole bunker protects the middle front. The play was to aim 20 yards left of the green to be safe, but not so far left that it rolled across the firm links into a burn.

“Just hit it over there and hope for the best,” he said. “That was kind of a cool shot. I’ve never played 20 yards away from a green.”

It was his only bogey in a seven-birdie round, and it wasn’t even the best round in his group. He played alongside Kevin Kisner, who was 7 under through 11 holes and had to settle for a 65.

Some players change equipment when they come to a links course, and Mullinax was no exception, but with a twist. He had to change his back to the way they were.

Turns out airport personnel inspecting his luggage didn’t put all the clubs back in the golf bag. Some were inside the travel case and they were bent.

“I actually found out last night that my putter was 2 degrees off,” he said. “I knew it looked funny. I was having to tell my caddie, ‘Man, I’m having to forward press this a lot.’ The ball wasn’t rolling like it was in Kentucky. Surely I didn’t lose it in two days.

“I played a lot better today.”

He was having a blast either way. Mullinax looks forward to getting home to Alabama next week to celebrate his first PGA Tour win and reschedule the rest of his season. He now has a two-year exemption and gets into Maui for the winners-only start to the year, and the PGA Championship for the first time.

And there were times when he felt no rush to leave.

“Walking on my 18th hole yesterday was a really cool moment,” he said. “It was getting dark. The sun was getting low. Just to have that view walking across the bridge, just all the memories you’ve seen here. Just sunsets, perfect. My dad was out here. It was really cool.”

___

More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez delivers during the first inning of a baseball game ...
Associated Press

Valdez, Alvarez lead Astros to 3-2 win over White Sox

CHICAGO (AP) — Framber Valdez threw seven solid innings, Yordan Alvarez drove in a run and scored one, and the Houston Astros beat the White Sox 3-2 on Wednesday night, ending Chicago’s five-game winning streak. The AL West-leading Astros hung on after blowing late leads in the first two games of the series. The White […]
21 hours ago
New York Mets' Brett Baty, right, is congratulated by Mark Canha for a two-run home run against the...
Associated Press

Baty homers first time up in majors, Mets beat Braves 9-7

ATLANTA (AP) — Brett Baty homered his first time up in the big leagues, Starling Marte went deep twice and the New York Mets defeated the Braves 9-7 Wednesday night to snap Atlanta’s eight-game winning streak. After being outscored 18-1 in the first two games of the series, the NL East-leading Mets jumped to a […]
21 hours ago
Oakland Athletics' Sean Murphy (12) follows through on a solo home run swing as Texas Rangers catch...
Associated Press

Murphy hits 2 HRs, Langeliers homers as A’s roll past Texas

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Sean Murphy had his second two-homer game and rookie Shea Langeliers hit his first major league home run in his second game with Oakland, leading the Athletics to a 7-2 win over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night. Murphy pulled a solo home run to left field in the first inning […]
21 hours ago
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin throws during the first inning of a baseball gam...
Associated Press

Tony Gonsolin wins 15th as Dodgers nip Brewers 2-1

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Tony Gonsolin pitched seven scoreless innings for his 15th victory, Austin Barnes and Max Muncy homered, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 on Wednesday night. Gonsolsin (15-1) matched the Astros’ Justin Verlander for the major league lead in wins. Los Angeles is 21-5 since the All-Star break and […]
21 hours ago
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery throws during the first inning of a baseball...
Associated Press

Montgomery wins 3rd straight as Cardinals top Rockies 5-1

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jordan Montgomery picked up his third win in as many starts with St. Louis, and Nolan Gorman drove in three runs to lead the Cardinals to a 5-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night. St. Louis won for the 12th time in 13 home games and beat Colorado for […]
21 hours ago
Cleveland Guardians shortstop Amed Rosario (1) and left fielder Steven Kwan celebrate an 8-4 win ag...
Associated Press

Guardians score 6 runs in 8th, rally past Tigers 8-4

CLEVELAND (AP) — All-Star José Ramírez blooped a go-ahead, two-run double as the Cleveland Guardians scored six runs with two outs in the eighth inning, rallying for a 8-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night. Rookies Steven Kwan and Oscar Gonzalez had RBI doubles, and Amed Rosario and Owen Miller added run-scoring singles […]
21 hours ago
Mullinax goes from Kentucky to Scotland, doesn’t miss a beat