Tom Lewis struggles to replicate first round form

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The Independent Online

Surprise amateur contender Tom Lewis showed he had the grit to go with his guile after refusing to allow his Open dream to fall apart with one bad round.

Teeing off as joint leader at five under in sunny, flat-calm conditions the 20-year-old, winner of 2009 Boys Amateur Championship at Royal St George's, would have expected to have gone further into red figures.

However, where he had been sublime yesterday - shooting the lowest round by an amateur in the tournament's 140-year history - it soon became apparent this was a very different day.

There were some moments of bad luck and others of hesitancy but he battled through a number of wobbles to card a four-over 74, which dropped him back to one under but kept him in contention.

"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," said the Welwyn Garden City golfer, who won a qualifier at Rye to book a place at his first major.

"Four over is not a great score but hopefully I can have two good scores at the weekend.

"I had to limit the damage and I felt there was loads of it out there.

"Every hole felt like there was something because the way I was hitting it wasn't great."

Lewis saw his 61-year-old playing partner Tom Watson, a five-time Open winner, outscore him by four.

But playing alongside the veteran for a second day had its benefits as he was able to glean even more information from the American about playing majors on links courses.

"When I was making mistakes and limiting double bogeys to bogeys and holing par putts he was really nice," added Lewis.

"He gave me some advice around the course, it was really good of him to share them as not many people can get that time with him."

Lewis did not have much time to take in the enormity of his round yesterday but if he was under any illusion as to how big a name he made for himself it became clear on the short walk from the practice green to the first tee when his every stride was followed by a television camera inches from his face.

Having eased any nerves with a pair of solid two-putt pars from distance he missed a perfect chance to get his round going at the short third.

Having demonstrated his experience of links golf by using the ridge in the middle of the green to roll his ball back to within six feet, he left a nervy downhill putt short.

His patience was tested further at the next when, after an unfortunate bounce, his escape from a fairway bunker caught the lip and carried just five yards.

With a TV crew zooming in on his misfortune he recovered his composure to drill an iron onto the green but faced with a monster putt he could not prevent the dropped shot.

Playing partner Watson showed how it should be done, hitting driver, three wood and securing his par with a chip and a putt.

He left another cautious 20-foot putt in the jaws of the hole at the next and, having watched Watson ace the 161-yard sixth, pulled his iron into the left rough from where he failed to get up and down.

The downwind par-five next presented the perfect opportunity to claim a shot back but his 18-foot eagle putt skirted the edge of the hole and he missed the one coming back.

Lewis was scrambling around the turn, holing par putts from 30 feet and 15ft at 10 and 11 but his resilience was broken at the 381-yard 12th when he missed the green with his approach and paid the penalty.

He birdied the next but dropped shots at the 17th and 18th, fortuitously hitting a fence post at the back of the final green which prevented his ball going out of bounds and creating more damage, although his chip off a stony path was always going to be difficult.

Watson's words of wisdom for Lewis was really advice for the future.

"Don't get too complicated in your life. You can get it very complicated by adding a lot of people and a lot of things in your mind," said the veteran.

"Keeping it pretty simple is keeping the mind free of clutter. You don't need the clutter."