Former Cajuns golf standout the first player from Iceland ever in major championship
Dan McDonald, The Advertiser, July 25, 2018
Haraldur Magnus had a roller-coaster ride over the past weekend, when the former UL golf standout became the first Icelandic player ever to participate in a major championship.
The fact that it was the big one, the Open Championship, just across part of the North Atlantic from his hometown of Reykjavik, would have been enough to send shudders through most golfers. Add the fact that Magnus was carrying the weight of an entire country — one that surprisingly is crazy about golf, despite its unwieldy cold conditions –— and it would have taken a “major” effort to play well.
That Magnus did in last Thursday’s opening round, when he rallied back from a four-over 40 on the outward nine and posted five birdies on the inward nine and finished with a one-over 72, well ahead of the middle of the pack.
Friday’s second round wasn’t as promising when the weather turned sour. Magnus started with four pars before a triple-bogey at the par-four fifth hole and a double-bogey at the par-five sixth. Dropping five strokes to par proved too much, even though he posted three birdies the rest of the way. His final round 78 left him at eight-over 150 and outside the cut line.
The results, though, really didn’t matter.
“It was awesome to be in a major,” Magnus said. “I’m a bit of a loner and I keep to myself so I’m a little bit uncomfortable with it all, to be honest. I get a lot of coverage, but I really don’t care that I’m the first (Iceland native) to play in the Open. Whether there had been none, 15 or 100 before me, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Former Ragin' Cajun Haraldur Magnus of Iceland plays a shot off the 15th tee during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, on Friday. (Photo: Alastair Grant/AP)
Magnus did have a large number of followers from the Acadiana area, the ones who knew that he was an All-Sun Belt Conference player three times during his Cajun career from 2013-16 after starting in college at Mississippi State. Many kept track of his scores online, and he was mentioned several times during the coverage provided by Golf Channel, NBC and by the Open’s own online webcast.
The 27-year-old Magnus is competing on the Nordic Golf League, a “third-tier” offshoot of European golf. He had just over 3,500 pounds in earnings on that tour entering this week, and despite missing the cut at Carnoustie he banked 3,790 pounds just for participating in the Open.