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Feast of birdies at Sandwich

other Updated: Jul 15, 2011 23:11 IST

Early starters took advantage of warm sunshine and light winds to make their moves in the second round of the British Open on Friday, with Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke reaching the top of the leaderboard and veteran Tom Watson recording a hole-in-one.

With rain and wind forecast for the weekend, the undulating links course was at its most charitable throughout the early part of the day and the birdies began to flow as large crowds gathered alongside the English Channel.

Tom Lewis, who on Thursday became the first amateur for more than 40 years to lead the third major of the year when he tied with Dane Thomas Bjorn, attracted the largest galleries as crowds rushed to see the new surprise name of British golf.

Playing alongside 61-year-old American Watson, the five-times British Open champion he was named after, Lewis made a steady start with three pars but found an awkward lie in sand at the fourth, resulting in a bogey. Watson, who began the day on two-over-par, sparked a huge roar on the 178-yard par-three sixth with a glorious tee shot that disappeared into the cup on the second bounce.

The hole in one, the second of the tournament after American Dustin Johnson's effort at the 16th on Thursday, seemed to effect 20-year-old Lewis's concentration and he pulled his tee shot left into thick rough to drop another stroke and slip back to three under.