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Nicolas Colsaerts

From midnight golf and lava clubs to the British Open

He comes from a place where they play midnight golf and the most precious item in the bag is a rusty "lava club," used to hit balls off rock formations strewn across the fairways.

Haraldur Magnus will become the first Icelandic man to play in any of golf's four majors at the British Open this week, and his story sums up the charm of the oldest championship in the sport.

"Haddi," as he prefers to be known, is ranked 1,089th and plays in the Nordic Golf League — basically the third tier of European golf comprising tournaments in Scandinavia and Spain. Sometimes there are only a handful of spectators, compared to the daily crowds of 40,000 that are expected...