Journeyman Kendall proves to be a cut above the rest - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Journeyman Kendall proves to be a cut above the rest

Skip Who? It was a question on everyone's lips here last night as Skip Kendall climbed to the top of The Open leaderboard to set down his marker as this year's Ben Curtis.

Skip Who? It was a question on everyone's lips here last night as Skip Kendall climbed to the top of The Open leaderboard to set down his marker as this year's Ben Curtis.

The 39-year-old unknown, originally from Milwaukee, claimed his moment in the spotlight by shooting 66, the joint-best score of the day, to move to seven under par. He starts his third round today one shot ahead of Thomas Levet and two ahead of Barry Lane and KJ Choi, who are household names by comparison.

"I was very calm today and wasn't paying too much attention to the leaderboard. It was a glorious day," said a smiling Kendall.

"The main thing is for me to stay relaxed out there and have fun. The golf will take care of itself. But I know that there's a long way to go and this is only halfway done."

Kendall, now a resident of Windermere, Florida, has never won a PGA Tour event and has only played The Open twice before. He finished with a share of 59th place last year at Sandwich and missed the cut in 1998.

Sandwiches and cuts have combined to give him his greatest claim to fame prior to his heroics here. Last year he chopped off the top of his left index finger while cutting a frozen bagel.

Kendall calmly put the severed digit on ice, rushed to the hospital, had it stitched back on and was playing golf again 10 days later with a new grip.

"I was cutting a frozen bagel and I was trying to be very careful," he explained of his injury.

"It was a very sharp knife. I didn't have a microwave so I couldn't defrost the bagel first. And I was just kind of going around it, and the bagel slipped on the cutting board and the knife came down and my left forefinger happened to be in the way. I cut a big piece of it off and they had to sew it back on. All 10 digits are now complete and I'm back to my old grip."

It has been working to excellent effect here, no more so than when he holed a bunker shot on the third and then eagled the 16th with a 50-foot putt. But now, a maiden career win in his 311th tournament suddenly looks like less of a pipedream.

Troon's overnight hero explained after his round how his sporting life has rarely been glamourous.

"I started out playing mini tours in Orlando and couldn't quite make it so was working as a waiter in the Olive Garden restaurant," revealed Kendall, ranked 90 in the world.

"In between shifts I'd go to a field close to the restaurant to hit balls with my uniform on - bow tie, white shirt, black pants - because it was too hard to get the bow tie back on if I took it off. Can you imagine what people thought driving by?"

He also revealed how he met Prince Andrew, who is the captain of the R&A, during his first round on Thursday.

"I'd never met anyone like that before and on the 12th tee yesterday the official with our match said Prince Andrew was standing right behind the 11th green. I said 'Wow, I'd like to meet him' and they told me the protocol and I went and shook his hand."

American journalists were asking last night: "Who is Prince Andrew, exactly?"

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent