Tom Lewis, a high-school dropout,
shot 65 Thursday,
a British Open
golfers grow up quickly these days, immersing themselves in the sport on a fast track to success or
failure or something in the middle.
There was no better example of the
trend at the 140th British Open than
20-year-old English amateur Tom
Lewis, who dropped out of school at
16, with the support of parents Bryan
and Lynda, to chase his golf dreams.
While his countrymen Luke Donald
and Lee Westwood—Nos. 1 and 2 in
the world and each seeking his first
major victory—dominated many pre-
championship headlines and chatter,
it was Lewis’ opening five-under 65
that wowed the gallery at Royal St.
George’s GC in Sandwich, England.
Lewis not only tied Thomas Björn for
the first-round lead, he made some
history in the process.
Lewis’ scintillating score, built on
only 24 putts (including one-putts on
the first eight holes) and recorded
in the company of five-time British Open champion Tom Watson,
for whom he is in part named, was
the lowest by an amateur in the
Open—eclipsing 66s by Frank Stra-
An amateur on the loose By Bill Fields
Soft-spoken and composed, Ben Curtis was asked to answer a few questions after his opening
77 in the British Open. How life has changed for Curtis, who traveled with 14 family members
and friends in his return to Royal St. George’s. Eight years ago Curtis pulled off one of golf’s
greatest upsets. Ranked 396th in the world, the rookie out of Kent State joined Francis Ouimet
as the only players to triumph in their major debuts. Although he has backed that up with two
wins and a Ryder Cup appearance, Curtis, 34, is amid one of those frequent patches where he
struggles with the game. Asked earlier in the week why the British fans embraced him in 2003,
Curtis said quietly, “Everybody loves an underdog.” Nearly 10 years later, he still is one.