Overnight leaders lose way at the Open - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Overnight leaders lose way at the Open

Amateur Tom Lewis and joint overnight leader Thomas Bjorn lost their magic today and threw the 140th Open Championship at Sandwich wide open.

Lewis saw 61-year-old playing partner Tom Watson hole-in-one at the sixth in the day's most electrifying moment, but his own 74 - nine more than his lowest-ever round by an amateur in the event - dropped him off the leaderboard.



And with Bjorn, the Dane who lost the 2003 Open at the course from three ahead on the 15th tee, handing in a 72 that for a while was in danger of being much worse it was all change at the top.



The clubhouse target was set at "only" four under par by Darren Clarke, trying to take his own ride on the wave of Irish success in golf these last few years.



Fourteen years on from his runner-up finish at Royal Troon and a decade on from his last top-10 finish in any of the majors, the 42-year-old Ulsterman sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the last for his second successive 68.



While world number two Lee Westwood and twice winner Padraig Harrington waited to discover if four over par was good enough to survive the halfway cut, Clarke said: "It would mean an awful lot to win.



"But obviously this is only after two rounds - there is an awful long way to go yet.



"And I believe the forecast for the weekend is very, very poor. I quite look forward to that, but the course is going to play very, very tough.



"If that's the case, then the tournament is still wide open for an awful lot of players and will be."



His round began with laughter.



"That was somebody whistling at me when I was bending over stretching," he explained. "I said 'I hope that was a lady', but he whistled again, same guy. I'm doing something all wrong."



Not in his personal life, though.



Five years after losing his wife Heather to breast cancer he is engaged to Alison Campbell, a former Miss Northern Ireland he met in a blind date set up by compatriot Graeme McDowell.



"I've got a wonderful fiancee. Alison is a great girl and instrumental in my getting my life back on track."



Clarke owes his place in his 20th Open to taking the 30th and last exempt spot off last year's European Tour money list by less than £2,000.



After practising first with Westwood and then with new US Open champion Rory McIlroy - he stood level par with five holes to play - Clarke went about showing he still has what it takes, although his second circuit of the Kent circuit was a real rollercoaster.



A double bogey on the fourth, where a chip came back down a steep slope, was cancelled out by an eagle putt of around 80 feet just three holes later.



Four birdies and three bogeys followed, but he had the lead in the clubhouse on his own for a mere 10 minutes.



In the following group America's 2009 US Open champion Lucas Glover, without a top-20 finish in five previous trips to the event, parred the last eight holes for a 70.



Most early eyes, though, had been on Young Tom and Old Tom - 20-year-old Lewis and five-time champion Watson.



Watson's ace with a four-iron was the 15th hole-in-one of his life, his four-iron hopping in on the first bounce.



The 2009 runner-up - he would have been the oldest major champion by 11 years if only he had parred the final hole at Turnberry - continued to amaze with a 70 to make his 24th Open cut and extend his own record as the oldest man to play all four rounds.



Lewis had a television camera in his face the moment he left the practice putting green and, not surprisingly in the circumstances, could not repeat his first day heroics.



He bogeyed the final two holes, avoiding going out of bounds on the last only by hitting a post, and the Welwyn Garden City player is still in the title hunt.



"I think if you asked me that two days ago I would have taken it, but at this moment it doesn't feel so good," he said.



Bjorn did well to limit the damage after a hat-trick of bogeys from the second.



"It wasn't the prettiest of days golf-wise, but I'll take where I stand in the championship right now," he commented.



World number one Luke Donald, meanwhile, was three over after 12 and could have a say in whether Westwood and Harrington were still around for the weekend.









More to follow...

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

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
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