Wood rises to memory of Rose to keep sights on silver
Saturday 19 July 2008
Chris Wood yesterday evoked memories of Justin Rose's Open heroics of a decade ago with a brilliant finish to his second round that boosted his hopes of finishing the tournament as the leading amateur player.
Rose's spectacular 1998 finish came from the left rough at the 18th green; Wood's 2008 effort came from a chip over a greenside bunker which sent his ball into the cup and completed a round of 70. That gave him a five-over-par total of 145, just five shots off the clubhouse lead and in pole position to win the coveted silver medal.
Rose finished fourth here as a 17-year-old amateur. Wood said: "It's unbelievable, to finish like that is so special. I probably pitched it a yard short of where I wanted to and it ran straight into the hole. I fancied holing it because I'm chipping well. I was at the tournament in 1998 as a spectator, although not on Sunday when Justin did it, but I remember watching it on TV. His was in the last round so was a little bit more special, and it was from a bit further out, but I was not that far away."
Wood's father, Richard, is acting as his caddie this week and the 20-year-old from Bristol revealed that his mother and aunt were among a large group of family and fellow Long Ashton golf club members who have been cheering him on.
"Half of them left at 5am this morning to get here," said Wood, who was a member of Bristol City's academy as a teenager – even though he is actually a Bristol Rovers fan – until a knee injury hampered his progress. At 6ft 5in he describes his younger self as a Peter Crouch-style centre forward.
"I would say there have to be about 50 or 60 of them here," he said of his fanbase, "but I only had six or seven passes so I had to give them to the people I thought deserved them most. My mother and aunt are here as well but my sister Abi is travelling in Europe. She sent me a text yesterday asking, 'Are you in that Open thing yet?'"
Wood finished his round a certainty to make the halfway cut, a prerequisite to winning the silver medal. He added: "That [the silver medal] was my main goal for this tournament. That's what you want to win. Now I have to finish as high as I can."
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