Haydn Porteous laughed off the jokes following his recent naked photoshoot – and then made a flying start at the Open Championship.
The 22-year-old South African raised eyebrows at the weekend when he posed naked for a sporting feature in a national newspaper.
He has since been teased by some of his friends but none of that seemed to affect him as he began his first Open by shooting an outward 30 – including two eagles – to lead briefly at Royal Troon.
Porteous said: “There has been a lot of banter between my mates but I did it for good exposure. Gary Player has done it and Carly Booth has done it, there are a lot of golfers who have.
“At the end of the day it is about exposure and getting your name out there. My mates are taking me for a ride but that’s what you’re going to have to expect!
“Exposure probably isn’t the right word to use but it was fun and a bit different. I can say I’ve done it now. I did it for a laugh and any media is good media.”
Porteous was unable to maintain his momentum after the turn and shot 40 on the back nine, but he was still pleased to sign for a one-under-par 70.
He said: “It is a start I could only dream of. I knew when I turned six under after nine it gave me a little bit of a cushion on the back nine, but unfortunately I let things slip.
“I maybe got a little bit too conservative on the tougher holes, maybe trying to play them too safe and unfortunately got bitten by it.
“But to shoot anything under par in your first Open is something I could only dream of.”
Press Association Sport