Through three rounds at the Alfred Dunhill Championship, European Tour pro Marcus Armitage was buzzing along happily. Rounds of 70-70-71 at South Africa’s challenging Leopard Creek Country Club put Armitage T4 heading to Sunday’s final round.
For Armitage, the World No. 1348, that meant a chance at the biggest result of his career. The 32-year-old English pro turned pro in 2008 and has bounced between the European and Challenge tours in recent years. Last year, he was too short on money to go to European Tour Q-School, and in 2019 he had what he called “a terrible year” on the Challenge Tour. But in a show of resilience, Armitage re-earned his European Tour card just two weeks ago at this year’s Q-School.
All that set up an opportunity for a Sunday triumph — but the final round didn’t work out according to plan. Armitage shot 83, the second-highest score of the day, and plummeted from T4 to T42. It would have been understandable for Armitage to be devastated afterward, and there’s no doubt he was disappointed. But instead of sulking, he took to his camera. “When you play like I did today, they don’t interview you,” he pointed out. But his message was far more inspirational (not to mention more relatable) than someone who had just posted 68.
Here’s what he said:
“You know what, like, when you play like I did today, they don’t interview you, which is fair enough, know what I mean? But what a week I’ve had, I’ve had an awesome week, and yesterday, that shot into 18 and stuff like that is why I play golf and why I love it to bits. And that’s why when every kid comes up to me and asks, ‘What’s it like to play on the European Tour?’ I’m like, it’s the best thing on the planet. Because that is why I get up in the morning and practice, that is why I practice for that little bit of success I had yesterday.
“But yeah, today was a bad day. And no one wants to talk to you, everyone’s saying oh, ah, this that and the other — look! I just had a bad day! Chill out! The Bullet’s gonna go home. And we’ll do a little bit of practice…get me swinging even better, and I’m going to come back out here and do it again!”
Armitage’s reference to “that shot on 18” came after he flagged his approach shot to a precarious pin on No. 18 on Saturday, a line that his body language suggested was even more aggressive than he’d intended. He made the putt for eagle.