Dave Coupland enlists top caddy Gary Melia to help him tackle on The Open at Royal Troon

Dave Coupland.
Dave Coupland.

Dave Coupland believes that experienced caddy Gary Melia has the know how to help him become a success at The Open.

The Boston golfer says he is setting his sights on success at South Ayrshire’s Royal Troon next week.

And he believes that Melia - who has more than a quarter of a century of experience on the greens - can help him through those ‘pressure situations’.

“I’ve got a professional caddy now and that’s a massive factor,” Coupland told The Standard.

“In a pressure situation, when I might start getting some nerves, I’ve got someone to talk me through, someone with a lot of experience.

“Gary has been with Gregory Havret for the past nine years, but he has over 25 years of experience.”

Indeed, Melia was by the Frenchman’s side when he finished second at the 2010 US Open, one stroke behind Graeme McDowell.

Nine years ago a 21-year-old Coupland qualified for The Open at Carnoustie.

On that occasion he enlisted pal Michael Skinner to caddy for him.

Despite Coupland carding rounds of 79 and 74 to miss the cut by six shots, he believed that his friend’s presence was valuable on that occasion.

“We were two mates having a good time, that’s what it was really,” he reflected.

“Then I didn’t expect to qualify and didn’t know the consequences. But now I’ve been there once I think have definitely learned from it.”

While Skinner was exactly the friendly presence a young Coupland needed, he admits that this time around - after years of experience on the European Challenge Tour - Melia is now the right man to aid him.

Coupland, who is attached to Woodhall Spa GC, did the business at a qualifier at Southport’s Hillside Golf Club last Tuesday to ensure his second visit to The Open.

Five players tied for second spot on -2, which meant Coupland and rivals Paul Howard, Scott Arnold, Jay Taylor and Steven Robins had to play off for the two remaining spots.

Coupland’s birdie at the second play-off hole meant he took the first of those spots, with Howard also successful.

Coupland shot rounds of 69 and 73 on the par 72 course, where England’s Jack Senior finished in first place on -5.

The Open begins next Thursday.