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Two Unknowns Lead British Open After Round One

Andrew Redington, Getty Images

It’s technically called “The Open Championship,” and to other sports nerds like me, it’s “The British Open.” But regardless of what the tournament is called, we can all agree that it’s a pretty freaking hard tournament to win. So after the completion of Round One, is it really any shock that you probably have never heard of the 2 guys tied atop the leaderboard?

It was a blustery day at Royal St. George’s, and two golfers were able to succeed in flying colors with 5-under par: amateur Tom Lewis and two-time tournament runner-up Thomas Bjorn. The amazing part about Bjorn is that he didn’t even get into the tournament field until Monday, when Vijay Singh withdrew due to injury.

The 40-year-old Bjorn is most well known for blowing a 3-shot lead with 4 holes to play in the 2003 edition of The Open Championship, but was very emotional during a press conference following his Opening Round of 65. Bjorn told the media:

I really wasn’t expecting to play in this championship. There were a lot of pull-outs in the last week leading into this. So I never really expected to play in it. There’s no reason to get too uptight. I knew I wasn’t coming in in the greatest form, so just try and enjoy being down here and try to use it more to find some form.

Ross Kinnaird, Getty Images

As for the 20-year-old amateur Tom Lewis, it was simply a magical day that was even more special because he played alongside the man he was named after: five-time Open champion Tom Watson. Lewis made four straight birdies coming down the stretch, before a par-saving tap-in at the 18th left him tied with Thomas Bjorn.

Lewis posted the lowest round ever for an amateur in the British Open, matching the record set by Tiger Woods (1996) and Justin Rose (1998). The youngster also became the first amateur to lead a round at a major since 1976.

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