Tom Lewis fights for chance to repeat Open heroics

 

Cast your minds back 12 months. Golf was in a lather at the achievements of Rory McIlroy and wondering if Tom Watson might reprise the wonders of Turnberry when he pitched up at Royal St George's. McIlroy did not feature at all in the Open drama. Watson did by virtue of playing alongside an amateur by the name of Tom Lewis.

The kid from Nick Faldo's old club in Welwyn Garden City opened with a 65, the lowest score by an amateur in the history of the Open, to share the lead in the tournament. That he was named after his playing partner, the boyhood hero of Lewis's father, added a poignant detail to an already rich storyline. Lewis could not quite match the excellence of the first day but made the weekend's action and took the silver medal for best placed amateur.

Twelve months on, the 21-year-old boy is in the process of becoming a golfing man, and struggling. He missed out at the Open qualifier at Sunningdale a fortnight ago and needs a top-five finish at the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart to claim a tee time at Royal Lytham next week. The prognosis is not good. Lewis has missed five of his last six cuts, but after a visit to the Las Vegas temple of "super coach" Butch Harmon, who shaped the early professional career of Tiger Woods and now looks after Phil Mickelson, he believes the secret to sustained happiness might not be far away.

Harmon identified Lewis's overly active swing as the root cause and strapped a sling-like device to his right arm to encourage him to shorten the backswing to promote greater control. "Before I used my hands a lot and I was convincing myself I was hitting it well, whereas I was actually timing it well," Lewis said. "All my life I haven't been very consistent. I haven't been able to have four good rounds. It's always difficult to know but, hopefully, the stuff I'm working on will make me more consistent through the rest of my career.

"He's a clever man. What he saw has been happening for a long time, but it's just little tweaks to my swing. Simple stuff, not complicated. Hopefully, my confidence will come back with it. I've been quite good at learning and changing stuff in the past and I don't feel it will take me long before I see some big improvements. Once I shoot one low round I feel I'll be in the zone again. I'm a bit distant from where I was, but I think this knock-back has been good for me."

Lewis would arguably have benefited from a spell under the radar after the Open exposure but that was never likely. In his final event as an amateur Lewis led from the front at Royal Aberdeen to help Great Britain and Ireland to Walker Cup glory in September and a month later, three tournaments into his professional career, he earned his first win on tour with a magnificent back-nine at the Portugal Masters. This was an achievement even beyond the likes of McIlroy.

Unfortunately for Lewis, the Scottish Open's shift to a links setting near Inverness has encouraged the big dogs to turn up and sharpen their teeth for the challenge at Lytham. The world No 1 Luke Donald defends his title against the likes of Mickelson (four majors), Padraig Harrington (three majors), Ernie Els (three majors) plus Louis Oosthuizen (2010 Open champion) and Paul Lawrie (1999 Open champion) playing the golf of his life.

"It's asking a lot," Lewis said. "But we'll see."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot