Bjorn, Lewis lead British Open

July 14, 2011 at 9:01 PM
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SANDWICH, England, July 14 (UPI) -- Thomas Bjorn and amateur Tom Lewis each fired a 5-under 65 Thursday to become the unlikely co-leaders after one round of the British Open.

Bjorn is seeking redemption from a lost opportunity eight years ago and Lewis, who shot the lowest score by an amateur in the history of the tournament, was paired with the man for whom he is named, Tom Watson.

Their unique stories were spotlighted on a day at Royal St. George's that started windy and wet and ended calm and dry.

Those who had late starting times, therefore, got the best of the weather and a huge crowd of players finished 18 holes with a legitimate chance to challenge for the oldest major championship in golf. There were 50 players within five shots of the lead.

In a tournament that was first played in 1860, the 20-year-old Lewis broke the amateur record shared by Tiger Woods. Lewis' father named him for Watson, a five-time British Open champion who tournament officials placed in the same threesome as Lewis for the opening two rounds. Watson shot a 72.

Bjorn appeared to have this tournament won in 2003 when it was last played at Royal St. George's, having held a three-shot lead with four holes to play. He then made a double-bogey at the par-3 16th and eventually lost by a shot to Ben Curtis.

Bjorn had not played in the British Open since then until Thursday and he got into the event as the fourth alternate when Vijay Singh withdrew.

The co-leaders were a shot in front of 2009 U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Webb Simpson. A large group at 68 included last year's winners of the U.S. Open and PGA Championship -- Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer.

There were 17 players with a score of 68 or better and among them were as many who are still shy of their 21st birthday (Lewis and 19-year-old Jung-Gon Hwang) as there were members of the world's Top 20 (Kaymer and McDowell).

Of those 17 players there were six Americans, but only one of them (Simpson at No. 11) is among the 25 leading players on the PGA Tour's money list.

Steve Stricker, Ian Poulter and Bubba Watson were part of the crowd at 1-under 69, but so were George Coetzee, Alexander Noren and Danny Willett -- none of whom are among golf's leading lights.

Rory McIlroy, who won last month's U.S. Open by eight shots and was the pre-tournament favorite, bogeyed two of the first three holes and shot a 71. That was the same score turned in by the top two ranked players in the world, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood.

Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson, who made a hole in one, all shot 70.

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