Ho so happy to hit headlines in major

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The Independent Online

The Cynics had started calling him "SK Who?" as soon as his name hit the leaderboard. But for at least an hour yesterday the whole world was waking up to who this South Korean is and just what he was doing leading the Open.

The Cynics had started calling him "SK Who?" as soon as his name hit the leaderboard. But for at least an hour yesterday the whole world was waking up to who this South Korean is and just what he was doing leading the Open.

After three pars, SK Ho eagled the 497-yard par fourth to move two shots clear. "Who" suddenly became Ho in one swing of the putter that holed that 35-footer.

"I was very surprised at that point," he said through an interpreter. "It was very surprising that I was leader of a major tournament. I'm very happy with that."

Not half as happy as they were in his homeland, which has a rich golfing pedigree with K J Choi and Charlie Wi showing Ho the path in the men's game and Se Ri Pak and Grace Park making vast inroads on the LPGA Tour.

The 29-year-old from Seoul had caused enough of a stir with a first-round 70 to lie a couple off the pace set by Hennie Otto. "I called this morning and spoke to my parents and they told me it is big news story in all the newspapers in Korea on the front page," he said. "I'm very happy with that."

Goodness knows what they would have done if he had maintained his lead, but five bogeys took him out of the red to leave him at one over after a 72. Nevertheless, he is well in touch and his name could well revisit the headlines over the weekend.

If it does, it would bode well for Ho's attempt to qualify for the US Tour this year. "With such experience like this I think it's going to be a great chance," said Ho, who has won on both the Japan and Asian tours.

Last year's surprise man at Muirfield came from the more familiar terra firma of France when Thomas Levet took Ernie Els all the way to a sudden death play-off. Yesterday, the son of a Parisian doctor made it déjà vu as he charged past Ho and Co to vie for the leadership with Davis Love.

Birdies on the fourth, sixth and ninth took the 34-year-old to the turn in 33 and three-under. A ghastly four-putt on the 10th for a double bogey hurtled Levet back to one under and then three further blemishes at the 13th, 16th and 17th left him three behind Love at two over.

An X-ray on Colin Montgomerie's right wrist at Ashstead Hospital in Surrey revealed that there is no break or fracture. The 40-year-old, who withdrew after seven holes of his first round after falling on his way to breakfast on Thursday, was referred to Royal Surrey County Hospital for an MRI scan to determine the extent of soft-tissue damage.

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