Saturday, July 16, 2011

British Open: Tom Watson says 'luck' was behind his 160-yard ace

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SANDWICH, England -- Tom Watson refuses to be a ceremonial player, especially when it comes to the British Open. He showed what he was talking about Friday when he quickly turned things around with a hole-in-one on the sixth hole.
Watson drilled a 4-iron from about 160 yards into the wind, a shot that looked good from the time of that crisp click off his club. He never saw the ball bang against the pin and disappear, and he paused slightly even after hearing a sudden burst of cheering from fans perched atop the tall dunes surrounding the green.
He raised his arms, and eventually turned and took a bow for a packed grandstand behind him.
"You can't see it go in," Watson said. "I just saw it on the replay in there. It was a slam dunk. If it missed the flag, it would've been 30 feet by. But it was lucky. They're all lucky when they go in."
It's not all luck when it comes to Watson and the British Open he has won five times.
The oldest player in the field at 61, he wound up with an even-par 70 and was at two-over 142, only six shots behind going into the final two rounds.
STRICKER STRIKES AGAIN: Steve Stricker has a chance at a feat achieved only once, and that was 40 years ago -- winning a tour event, then winning the British Open the next week.
Lee Trevino did that in 1971 with the Canadian and British Open. Only nine other players have won the week before winning a major, the most recent being Tiger Woods at the Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship in 2007.
Oddly enough, Stricker couldn't crack the top 50 the last two years that he won the John Deere Classic. On Friday, Stricker had a bogey on the easy par-five seventh, but made enough birdies for a 71 and was only four shots out of the lead.
AGELESS LINKS: Tom Lehman has played three PGA Tour events this year with modest results. Put the 52-year-old on a links course that measures 7,211 yards and plays to a par 70, and he looks like a kid again.
Lehman is not surprised.
"That's one reason the older guys, or the more experienced guys, are able to do OK," he said. "Length isn't required. It's more about accuracy and the line you take and hitting it where you're aiming."


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