Old wizard Tom Watson thrills Open fans with hole-in-one
Published 15/07/2011 | 13:04
Tom Watson had yet another Open memory to savour today after firing a hole-in-one during his second round at Royal St George's.
Just two years after having a putt to win a record-equalling sixth Open title at Turnberry and become the oldest major winner by 11 years, the 61-year-old was again rolling back the years in glorious conditions on the Kent coast.
And just a day after playing partner Tom Lewis shot the lowest round in Open history by an amateur to claim a share of the overnight lead, Watson reclaimed the headlines by holing his tee shot to the 169-yard par-three sixth.
The American's four-iron approach was always right on line and bounced once before plummeting into the hole to spark a massive roar from the large gallery.
Watson is not the oldest player to record a hole-in-one in the Open however. Gene Sarazen was 71 when he aced the famous Postage Stamp at Troon in 1973.
The eagle took Watson from two over par to level, and when he two-putted the par-five next for a birdie, he was just four off the lead.
At the time that was shared by overnight joint-leader Thomas Bjorn and Darren Clarke, with Clarke enjoying a rollercoaster round containing four birdies, an eagle, a bogey and a double bogey, moving from two under overnight to five under after 13 holes.
However, the 42-year-old from Northern Ireland then dropped further shots at the 14th and 16th and, despite the perfect weather, Bjorn found himself back in the outright lead when he began his second round after almost six hours of play.
Lewis was battling hard to stay in touch, the 20-year-old holing long putts for par on the 10th and 11th to remain two over for the day and three under for the championship.
American pair Lucas Glover and Ricky Barnes were one off the lead after 16 and nine holes respectively, Barnes having only got into the field shortly before teeing off on Thursday afternoon.
Barnes had flown in from America as first reserve and was rewarded with a place in the line-up when Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts pulled out with an elbow injury suffered when he crashed a rented scooter into a kerb in Sandwich on Monday.
The field had been reduced to 155 earlier today however, when Retief Goosen withdrew with a back injury. The double US Open champion had shot 76 in the first round.
Clarke finished in style with a birdie on the 18th to complete a second successive 68, sharing the clubhouse lead on four under with Glover (70).
Bjorn had fallen back to three under with bogeys at the second and third, leaving playing partner Simon Dyson to charge to the head of the field with an opening hat-trick of birdies.
Lee Westwood remained four over par with four to play, the world number two in severe danger of missing the cut after five top-three finishes in his previous seven major championships.