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Getting to know the amateurs playing in the British Open

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Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood are names that roll off the tongue of every golf fan watching the British Open.

Lucas Bjerregaard, Craig Hinton and Bryden Macpherson? Not so much. So who exactly are these guys? They're three of the five amateurs playing in the 2011 British Open.

While you might not know these names now, you'll probably be hearing from a few of them in the next couple of years. And who knows, there's always a chance we could see one of them pull a Justin Rose (circa 1998) and finish inside the top 5.

Peter Uihlein (United States): Unlike the other four amateurs in the field, the Oklahoma State All-American already has the experience of playing in two major championships this year. He missed the cut in both appearances, but having come over early to get in some links golf practice and adjust to the time difference, he should be more than ready to tee it up at Royal St. George's.

Bryden Macpherson (Australia): The Aussie played a big role in helping the University of Georgia make the NCAA Championship's match-play final, and followed that up with a victory at the British Amateur to get in the field. You'd think his recent success in the UK would help, but not even a win at the British Amateur can prepare you for the pressure of playing in the Open.

Lucas Bjerregaard (Denmark): His last name is a mouthful, but so is his golf game. Just 19 years old, the Dane is the youngest amateur in the field, having qualified for the Open with a win at the 2010 European Amateur. He's considered by many to be the future of golf in Denmark, and will be playing next year at Florida State.

Craig Hinton (England): Hinton was the Medalist at Local Final Qualifying at Royal Cinque Ports (69-70), which may come as a surprise since he only resumed playing golf in May. Prior to that, Hinton spent most of the year trying to recover from a trip to Spain for the Spanish Amateur, where he got sick and was diagnosed with myopericarditis (a heart condition). It's a miracle Hinton's even playing this week.

Tom Lewis (England): Peter Uihlein may have the major championship experience, but Lewis has something just as valuable: a victory at Royal St. George's. Lewis won the 2009 British Boys title at the course hosting this week's Open Championship, which should give him a slight local knowledge edge over the competition. Plus, he won Medalist honors at Final Local Qualifying with rounds of 63 and 65, making him a great pick to play the weekend.

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