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  Friday, 20 July, 2001, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
Lytham bites back at champions
Former champion Gary Player searches for the fairway
Former champion Gary Player searches for the fairway
Royal Lytham has had its revenge over the last four men to win The Open over the course.

Three of the four are out of the tournament at the halfway stage, and Gary Player, the only one still out on the course, looks certain to join them.

With the cut expected to be at two over, a total of 144, Tom Lehman, Severiano Ballesteros and Tony Jacklin are all on their way home.

It is odds-on they will be joined by Player.

The South African's winning round in 1974 included a famous left-handed shot on the 18th after his ball landed next to the clubhouse.

Nick Faldo on one of several visits to the rough
Nick Faldo on one of several visits to the rough

But there was no magic from the man in black this time as he shot a six-over 77 in the first round.

Player, Jacklin and Ballesteros were always likely to be heading home before the weekend.

Jacklin, who finished on 149, claimed his only Open title at Lytham more than 30 years ago in 1969, and the first of Player's came a decade before that.

Ballesteros belongs to a more recent era but carded the same two-round total as Jacklin.

Two of the Spaniard's three Open wins came at Lytham, in 1979 and 1988, and he was dubbed the "car park champion" after a series of wild drives and spectacular recovery shots during his first victory.

It's been a long time since he was a serious contender, but that's not the case with Lehman, who won the championship in 1996, the last time it was played at the course.

Crowd Favourite

The American was always struggling after a first-round 75 and although he improved second time round, a one-over 72 was never going to be enough to keep him around for the weekend.

Nick Faldo recovered after a first round 75 to shoot level par in the second, but at a four-over 146 the three-time champion is on his way home.

The same fate befell Mark Brooks, who lost a play-off to Retief Goosen for the 2001 US Open. He finished on the same score after a pair of 73s.

Crowd favourite John Daly, who blasted his way to the 1995 title at St Andrews, missed out with a two-round total of 148, but at least had the satisfaction of beating five-time winner Tom Watson by four strokes.

Watson, who first won the Open title back in 1975 at Carnoustie, was just three over after the first round but a disastrous 78 in the second meant yet another former champion was on his way home.

Triple bogey

The American was joined on 152 by another name forever associated with the Open, although not for the positive reasons associated with Watson.

Frenchman Jean van de Velde will always be remembered after his exploits on the 18th at Carnoustie in 1999 when he only needed to avoid a triple bogey to win.

But after hitting the grandstand and visiting the water he failed to do so and went on to lose a play-off to Paul Lawrie.

At least this time his failure won't go down in Open folklore.


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