Hamilton's 67 exceeds his own expectations

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The Independent Online

Todd Hamilton shot a second round three-under 67 at the Dutch Open yesterday to move to seven under overall and put pressure on the first-round leader Nicolas Colsearts.

Hamilton, a 44-year-old American who won the 2004 British Open at Royal Troon, lost his full playing rights on the US PGA Tour last year before moving to the European Tour.

"There have not been too many back-to-back good rounds for me in the last two or three years," admitted Hamilton who had shot an opening 66 at Hilversumche Golf Club on Thursday. Colsearts held the first-round lead after an opening eight-under 62.

Hamilton is one shot ahead of Martin Kaymer, the young German who will make his Ryder Cup debut at Celtic Manor next month. Kaymer shot a second straight 67 to move to six under. He was joined in second place by Joost Luiten of the Netherlands who shot 69. Spain's Jose Manuel Lara and Sweden's Robert Karlsson, who both shot 68, were a shot further back at five under.

Matt Kuchar birdied his final hole to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the BMW Championship while a baffled Tiger Woods watched his Cog Hill magic disappear.

Playing on the same course on which he won the US Amateur title in 1997, Kuchar mixed an eagle and six birdies with a bogey for a seven-under 64 and a one-shot lead over Ryan Moore.

Cog Hill had also been a happy hunting ground for Woods, a five-time winner on the suburban Chicago layout, but the world No 1 played like he was seeing the course for the first time on Thursday, opening his title defence with a two-over 73.

Heading to the Ryder Cup, Kuchar may well be the in-form player for the United States with seven top 10s in his last 10 starts, including a win at the Barclays that helped put him firmly on top of the FedEx Cup standings.

Moore stormed into contention with a Cog Hill record 29 on the back nine. One over through 10, Moore drained seven birdies over his last eight holes to finish with a six-under 65.

Britain's Ian Poulter began his day with a double-bogey but recovered to shoot a five-under 66 to sit alone in third with South African Retief Goosen and South Korean Charlie Wi one shot further adrift after returning 67s. Poulter's Ryder Cup team-mate Luke Donald was also in contention after opening with a three-under 68 but Rory McIlroy stumbled to a five-over 76.

All 12 members of the US Ryder Cup squad were in action and certainly captain Corey Pavin will be looking for more out of his team than what he saw on Thursday, particularly from Woods and world No 2 Phil Mickelson.

Woods opened with a double-bogey at the first and dropped another shot at the sixth to reach the turn at three-over. Woods showed his fighting spirit remains intact hitting back with birdies at 10 and 11 but he could not sustain the charge, giving a stroke back with a bogey at the 12th, which was followed by a birdie on the 14th before signing off with another bogey at the 18th.

Mickelson did not fare much better, carding a one-over 72 to sit alongside Ryder Cup team mate Bubba Watson while Jim Furyk joined Woods on 73.