While you were probably sleeping, former Gophers golfer Erik van Rooyen shot a 67 and held second place at the British Open midway through the opening round.

Kevin Kisner led after the first round with a five-under-par 66. Tony Finau and Zander Lombard also shot 67.

Van Rooyen, from South Africa, played for the University of Minnesota and was the 2012 Minnesota State Amateur champion. He started the Open as a 500-1 longshot to win.

Here's some of what was written about his opening-round showing.:

From the Associated Press:

Erik Van Rooyen enjoyed his first round at a British Open — except for the final hole.

The 28-year-old South African went out at 1246 a.m. (Twin Cities time) in the second group and has set the clubhouse target after a 4-under 67. The only shot the Open rookie dropped came at the last after he found a bunker with his drive.

Van Rooyen has recent form on the links: He was the 54-hole leader at the Irish Open two weeks ago and finished tied for fourth.

From ESPN, which provided background on van Rooyen's play on the European Tour:

Van Rooyen's debut season on the European Tour has been met with challenges around mental strength and fine-tuning his putting. He has benefited from the help of Sherylle Calder, a world-renowned vision awareness coach who has her own sporting claim to fame: she was part of the management team for back-to-back Rugby World Cup-winning teams, England in 2003 and South Africa in 2007.

From Agence France-Presse:

South Africa's Erik van Rooyen put down an early marker at the British Open as a four-under-par first round of 67 gave him the clubhouse lead on Thursday morning.

Van Rooyen went out in the second group of the day at Carnoustie.

On a perfect summer's morning on Scotland's east coast, he had five birdies, including at the opening two holes, and was on course for a flawless first round until he dropped a shot at the difficult 18th.

Van Rooyen, who qualified for his first British Open by coming second at the Joburg Open late last year, was two shots ahead of English duo Danny Willett and Matthew Southgate.

Van Rooyen, 28, ranked 144th in the world, has been in good form lately. He led the Irish Open by four strokes heading into the final round two weeks ago, before fading to finish equal fourth with a closing 74.

He said he tried to adopt of mindset on Thursday that the Open was just another tournament.

"It is a major but my mindset today was I've played a lot of golf this year already," he said. "I was quite comfortable."

From Britain's Shropshire Star:

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen enjoyed an Open debut to remember after setting the first round clubhouse lead at Carnoustie in the 147th Championship.

The 28-year-old did not drop a shot until his final hole as he posted a four-under-par 67 in benign morning conditions.

Van Rooyen, a European Tour rookie who finished joint fourth at the Irish Open a fortnight ago, made the most of favorable weather with three birdies in his first six holes as he turned in 33.

He picked up two more shots coming home before an errant drive at the last ended up in a bunker at the last and he could only splash out onto the fairway to make bogey.

From Britain's Golf Monthly web site:

What do we know about the South African?

South Africa’s Erik Van Rooyen is 28 and has been a professional golfer since 2013. Hailing from Johannesburg, he is in his rookie season on the European Tour having won the Hainan Open on the Challenge Tour in 2017. He earned his place on the main circuit for this year after finishing in the top-15 on the 2017 Challenge Tour standings.

He might be one of the lesser-known players in the field this week, but Van Rooyen has been enjoying a pretty decent year on the European Tour. He finished second in the Joburg Open in December (a finish that secured his start in The Open at Carnoustie) and has posted three further top-10s since then. He was 10th in the Tshwane Open and then tied 7th in the Trophee Hassan II.

The South African had led the Irish Open through three rounds but he fell back with a final round of 74.

So far on the 2018 European Tour, Van Rooyen has earned over €700,000. He is currently ranked 34th on the Race to Dubai standings and at 144th on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Van Rooyen had a strong amateur career and was captain of the golf team at the University of Minnesota. As an amateur he won the 2011 Southern Cape Open and the 2012 Minnesota State Amateur championship.

Here's a quick biography of van Rooyen from the university's web site:

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