Evans flies after rare albatross

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The Independent Online

Without any great form behind him so far this season, Gary Evans was soon on the leaderboard at the 133rd Championship. It is becoming a familiar pattern. Evans has never won on the European Tour after more than a decade trying to achieve the breakthrough.

Without any great form behind him so far this season, Gary Evans was soon on the leaderboard at the 133rd Championship. It is becoming a familiar pattern. Evans has never won on the European Tour after more than a decade trying to achieve the breakthrough.

But at the Open the 35-year-old from Sussex, despite being 77th on the order of merit, is a man revived. He teed off in the first group yesterday morning and had soon made his mark. He covered the 560 yards of the fourth hole in two strokes, holing out with a five-iron, for a rare albatross. A 68 was one of the day's best scores.

Evans had never previously had an albatross, or a "double eagle" as the Americans term a three-under-par score on a single hole.

"I gave myself three chances on the first three holes and I didn't make any of them," he said. "I was getting a little frustrated because you know you have to play the front nine under par."

Evans was a Walker Cup player in 1991 and almost won the Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award the following year. But it was two years ago that he enjoyed his best season. The highlight came at the Open at Muirfield.

On the final day he was enjoying a blistering day when he lost a ball at the par-five 17th. A huge gallery searched in vain and Evans had to replay his second shot, this time playing four. But then he holed a massive putt and turned to the camera and mouthed: "That one's for you, mum."

"I guarantee you there's not a human being on the planet that went through a worse time in terms of nerves than me two years ago," he said. "Standing over that putt at Muirfield is the worst I'll ever feel in my life."

Evans bogeyed the last to miss out on the play-off won by Ernie Els but was also joint 10th at Sandwich last year. "Actually, in the last two years I've played a lot of good golf. This year hasn't been so good because of injuries but I've got a lot of confidence because of the Open.

"I won a lot of tournaments on links courses as an amateur and I feel comfortable. The boring old yardage and hitting to targets goes out of the window. This is much more about finding your way around the course and you need a lot of imagination."

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