Golf – The Open

Bad weather greeted competitors teeing off at Royal Troon with high winds claiming many prominent victims. After Day One, Paul Casey and Thomas Levet shared the lead on five under par, with only Vijay Singh keeping in close touch from the top-ranked players. The cut on Friday evening saw double winner Greg Norman and defending Open champion Ben Curtis failing to qualify for the final stages, Nick Faldo also joining those going home. A total of 11 over par meant that the Englishman missed the cut by a huge margin. Going into Sunday’s decisive round, an unknown American once again topped the leader-board on eight under. Todd Hamilton teed-off one shot clear of World No. 2 Ernie Els with Retief Goosen, Phil Mickelson and Thomas Levet in close attendance on six under. Should the leaders slip up, Tiger Woods and Colin Montgomery were still lurking within striking distance. Hamilton maintained his form to take the championship to a four-hole play-off. He held the strong challenge of Ernie Els to become the sixth successive American to lift the Claret Jug. Mickelson finished third, with Lee Westwood achieving the best British placing in fourth.