Great Danes make most of new beginning on Kent coast

Since his opening 65 on Thursday morning, Thomas Bjorn has been going quietly about his business in the 140th Open Championship. The romantic notion of Bjorn's redemption on the Kent links where he could, indeed should, have won the Open eight years ago was soon overtaken by the story of boy wonder Tom Lewis.

Then Bjorn made three bogeys in a row early in his second round and seemed to be fading while Darren Clarke was rising to the top of the leaderboard. Without much recent form behind him in what has been a turbulent year, the suspicion was that a fade might become an outright eclipse.

Yet Bjorn is very much still in contention. He might not be leading going into the final round as he was in 2003 but Bjorn has got himself into position to strike today.

Bjorn has steadfastly refused to talk about the events of the fateful afternoon when he led by three strokes with four holes to play. He dropped a shot at the 15th and then hit his tee shot into the bunker to the right of the green at the short 16th.

It is rarely good when a feature on a golf course is named after a player. Duncan's Hollow, the dip to the left of the 18th green, commemorates the Scot's failure to get down in two shots and so lose the 1922 Open to America's Walter Hagen. Sandy Lyle also got a bogey from the same spot in 1985 but it turned out all right when nobody beat his score.

Duncan had already won an Open at Royal Cinque Ports, the course to the south at Deal, two years earlier. Bjorn had not and that was his best chance to win a major, although two years later he got close at the USPGA Championship, won by Phil Mickelson. Twice Bjorn played out of the sand and twice the ball rolled back down the bank into the trap. He took a double bogey, then bogeyed the 17th and lost by one to the unheralded Ben Curtis.

His caddie was Billy Foster and a few weeks later when Bjorn asked the Yorkshireman his tee-time for the next tournament, Foster could not resist adding that he had been drawn with Doug Sanders and Jean van de Velde. Harsh, but Bjorn took it in the bitterly humorous manner intended. Bjorn was forced to take two months off this year during which time his father died.

But he was determined to enjoy this week after getting in as the sixth alternate on Monday evening. Tucked behind the leaders yesterday, he had a couple of birdies and a couple of bogeys early on while the wind was still up. But then he got into par mode and reeled off nine in succession, chipping beautifully at the 15th and the 16th. That run ended with a three-putt at the 17th but he almost recovered that dropped shot by holing from long range at the last. It was a par for a 71 to leave him third on two under.

Bjorn is not the only Dane in contention with Anders Hansen playing his way into the frame with a remarkable shot at the ninth. Perhaps they feel at home on a blustery spur of land on the North Sea. Hansen is a terrific ball-striker who has won not one but two PGA Championships at Wentworth.

His record at The Open is nothing to write home about, however. Before this week he had managed only two rounds in the 60s, a figure he doubled with two opening 69s here. At the ninth hole, his sand-wedge second shot spun sideways into the hole for an eagle two. "I could not see it go in but the roar of the crowd told me what had happened," he said.

This Dane also went on a run of pars, which unfortunately came to an end when he made a hash of the 18th. A double bogey meant a 72 but he is in the group at level par so ideally placed to take advantage of any slips by those in front.

With Clarke leading the way, this looks like being a good Open for the 40-year-olds. Both Bjorn and Hansen are 40 and although Hansen is notparticularly worried about his record in the Open, he knows exactly what it means to Bjorn. "I have to treat this as just another tournament that I am trying to win," he said. "Whether it is The Open or not, I'm just hoping to get a win.

"But I'm happy to see Thomas in contention. I wish him well tomorrow." Anyone who remembers Bjorn's agony in that bunker eight years ago can only agree with the sentiment.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution