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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 July, 2003, 20:46 GMT 21:46 UK
Evans leads English hopes
Gary Evans drives off the 1st tee at the Open
Evans was one of the earlier starters
Gary Evans was the pick of the English players in the first round of the Open after several more fancied names flopped at Sandwich.

Evans, who missed out on last year's play-off by bogeying the final hole at Muirfield, took full advantage of his favourable early start to finish with a level par 71.

He lies in joint sixth, three shots adrift of leader, South African Hennie Otto.

Former Open champion Nick Faldo, who celebrates his 46th birthday on Friday, had a 76 and was left to rue a double bogey seven on the 14th.

Lee Westwood also slumped to a 76 - having been level par after the 14th, he then dropped five shots in his final four holes.

Also finishing with a 76 was Luke Donald, who has made a name for himself on the US Tour this year and was unfazed by the pressure of playing alongside Tiger Woods in hie opening round.

Justin Rose, fourth on his Open debut at Birkdale when still an amateur five years ago, had a disappointing 79.

Things were even worse for fellow "Brit pack" member Paul Casey - playing only his fourth major and yet to make a cut in one, he finished with an 85.

Iain Poulter, another English hope for the future had the honour of striking the first tee shot at this year's Open, but ended up with a 78.





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