SANDWICH, England, (Reuters) – Unknown amateur Tom Lewis, who dreams of winning more majors than fellow Englishman Nick Faldo, stole the show at the 140th British Open on Thursday by claiming a shock share of the first-round lead with Danish veteran Thomas Bjorn.
The 20-year-old Lewis, making the most of benign conditions late in the day, celebrated his Open debut by shooting a five-under 65 that included a dazzling run of four successive birdies from the 14th.
The 40-year-old Bjorn, a late call-up from the reserve list who started his round early and had to tussle with difficult 20-mph winds, helped banish the demons of his late collapse the last time the event was held at Royal St George’s eight years ago. Bjorn and Lewis were one shot ahead of Americans Lucas Glover and Webb Simpson, and Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain. Tournament favourite Rory McIlroy could not recapture the form that carried him to a stunning eight-shot win at last month’s U.S. Open as he opened with a 71, the same score as world number one Luke Donald and second-ranked Lee Westwood. It was Lewis, the 5-foot-10 amateur with the long, flowing blond locks who captured the imagination of Thursday’s galleries as he strode the fairways beside five-times Open champion Tom Watson and former world number four Henrik Stenson of Sweden.