DiMarco finds major appetite knows no bounds

We might have cause to curse him in September but yesterday Chris DiMarco qualified as a local hero as he helped to lead the peloton's attack that cut down Tiger Woods' lead to a slender one.

In the Ryder Cup, DiMarco is sure to be a feisty opponent, keenest of all the American invaders, but he was available to be admired as a neutral fighting force as he blazed his way back from a faltering front nine to share second place at 12 under par.

His 65 on Friday alerted Hoylake to his ability and the man whose putting grip is called "the claw" ­ he looks as if he is going to put a vacuum cleaner over the green ­ confirmed his right to be regarded a genuine contender to gain revenge on the man who beat him in a play-off in last year's Masters.

Not that his target is Tiger particularly. "There's nothing extra in beating Tiger, there's at least five or six others you also need to beat. This is an awesome leaderboard," he said.

What about Tiger's record of never losing once he gets his head in front in a major? "You media are more bothered about that than we are. With the lead he had this morning you would have thought he would be three or four ahead going into tomorrow.

"But he isn't and we all face 18 really hard holes in the final round. The course is firming up and some of the pin positions were almost impossible today and probably will be tomorrow. It is going to be a fun day."

Following the death of his mother earlier in the month, there was some doubt whether DiMarco would appear. Not in his mind, however.

"This has been great therapy for me and my father. And I've no doubt that there was divine intervention out there today. My mother's name was Norma and our lady scorer was called Norma. I have only met five Normas in my life. How strange was that?"

Even the most powerful divinity would have found it hard to rescue DiMarco from a front nine short of promise. A course that has proved so adept at snatching shots off the unsuspecting, ambushed him and his South African playing partner, Retief Goosen, alike.

But the back half showed every gleam of his steely approach as he gained four shots in seven holes. It was not a passionate display. He did it by steady ironing off the tee. A couple of times he utilised the services of a fairway wood but he adhered faithfully to a gameplan not unlike Tiger's and intends to do the same today.

He and Goosen had an uncomfortable place on the day's menu. The main course of Woods and Ernie Els looked so tasty that it dominated the Hoylake appetite. And with Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk ensuring that the hors d'oeuvres had plenty of bite, their position as a flat-fish course did not tempt the palate.

Goosen had birdied the third with DiMarco but suffered calamity at the next two holes. On the fourth, his tee shot zipped into a fairway bunker with a steep lateral bank and he pondered for an age whether to risk a shot to the green or a guarded splash-out. Caution won in the end and he took three more to get down. On the fifth, Goosen reached for his driver off the tee and was fortunate to find his ball in thick gorse and lucky to get away with just one dropped shot.

It was then DiMarco's turn to drop a couple and it said much for his famed fighting spirit that he slowly clawed his way back up the leaderboard.

If his name was Dai Marco we could have claimed him for Wales but DiMarco is solidly New York Italian, although his attendance at the University of Florida has won him over to being a dweller in the sunshine state.

One of the qualities that marks him out as unusual among American pros is that he regards representing his country as more important than individual honours. While the others like to march to the sound of their own drum, he is stirred by the presence of the Stars and Stripes on his breast pocket.

And the thought of playing for the US in the Ryder Cup in Ireland in September has been as much an incentive as bidding for personal glory here at Hoylake. The American captain, Tom Lehman, has long been aware of the importance of having such passion beating at the heart of a team not renowned for their selfless patriotism.

The problem is that DiMarco is currently lying 21st in the US Ryder Cup points table and facing a monstrous leap up the earnings ladder if he is to qualify in his own right.

But Lehman has said that what he brings to a team is invaluable and has him down as a wild-card choice. He proved his worth in the President's Cup last autumn. This match between the US and the Rest of the World lacks the historic needle of the Ryder variety but DiMarco's partnership with Phil Mickelson proved the winning combination. But the qualities that earn him so many admirers have not led to conspicuous success in tournament play.

He has the dubious distinction of losing back-to-back play-offs in majors. Before losing to Woods last year he had lost in the same way to Vijay Singh in the US PGA in August 2004. He is back knocking at the door.

Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
people'I hated him during those times'
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam