Kamiyama hopes to follow the Curtis route to glory

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The Independent Online

It was registration day at the Open yesterday and as the competitors collected their player credentials all eyes were on the man at the front of the queue who will now undoubtedly attract a few bets from the superstitious and the downright desperate.

Because if Ben Curtis's experience at Sandwich is in any way a barometer of what will unfold here this week then Takashi Kamiyama will stun the golfing world by winning the Open. By being the first to register here yesterday, the Japanese professional was following in the unlikely spike-marks of Curtis, who was the first to sign on last year.

And the similarities between the two do not end there. Like Curtis, Kamiyama is a first-year professional and like Curtis (396) Kamiyama (303) goes into the Open with a world ranking in the 300s. Furthermore, Kamiyama is staying in a local B&B, is unheard of outside his own golfing community and is said to be considering using a local caddie to help him with the vagaries of the seaside links.

Be warned, however, that Kamiyama would not be quite the surprise champion that Curtis was. Indeed, he is rated by the bookies as more than twice as likely to win it.

"We had Curtis priced up at 750-1 last year," the Ladbrokes spokesman, Balthazar Fabricius, revealed. "But Kamiyama is only 300-1." Bookmakers never do make the same mistake twice.