KJ Choi Takes Lead from Norman at British Open
KJ Choi is now the current leader at the 2008 British Open at Royal Birkdale. KJ managed two birdies on his last two holes to take a one shot lead over 53 year old Greg Norman. Choi, now sits at one under par for the tournament after posting a Friday round of three-under 67. Norman managed a second round of 70 to remain at even par for the event showing that he still has fantastic.
“It feels a bit like stepping back in time,” admitted Norman, the 1986 and 1993 champion, while stressing that he was keeping his expectations for the rest of the tournament “realistically low.”
Choi described his round as “the best I’ve played at the British Open.”
“Everything went the way I wanted it to. The fans support was wonderful and I got great motivation from that.”
Camilo Villegas fired an amazing 65 to climb the leader board and now sits two off the lead with David Duval who after a decade of silence was maybe even more surmising to see near the top of the scoring. Duval, who was the 2001 champion, has only made one cut in 12 attempts all year as he continues to try to rebuild his career after his win at Lytham.
Padrig Harrington, the defending champion is also at two-over par and he finished with an eagle and a birdie to shoot 68. “I’m well in there with 36 holes to go and you just need to be there with nine to play,” said the delighted Irishman. “It’s unlikely anybody is going to run away with it.”
Rocco Mediate, Graeme McDowell and Robert Allenby, the 1st round leaders and the only players to break par in their opening rounds, all dropped back with 73s but are still in striking distance.
No one however could fully wrest the limelight away from Norman. The 53-year-old, who married tennis legend Chris Evert last month, plays more on the tennis court than on the golf course these days. He fits in tournaments when business commitments and injuries allow and he is making his first appearance at the Open since 2005.
Norman proved he could still play a links course after sinking a 50 footer for birdie on the first hole to go one under par. He also made huge putts at the seventh and eighth holes for birdie while making double bogey on the sixth. Norman managed seven straight pars after the eighth hole and scrambled amazingly on the last three holes.
The projected cut looks to be at nine over par meaning that players like Tom Watson, Ernie Els, Mark O’Meara, Paul Lawrie and Angel Cabrera do not look to be around for the final two rounds. (Data from The Associated Press.)