lewis leads the open


Tom Lewis has admitted he still just wants to make the cut despite a first-round 65 making him the first amateur to lead the Open since Michael Bonallack in 1968.

After Thomas Bjorn fired the same score in much tougher conditions in the morning, Lewis came out and rattled off four birdies in a row on the back nine to put himself at the head of the field. He also one-putted the first eight greens - and now genuinely believes he can lift the Claret Jug.

The 22-yearolf from Welwyn - who honed his game at the same course as six-time Major winner Nick Faldo - made seven birdies in a round with the man who he is named after, Tom Watson.

Lewis, a product of the successful EGU and R&A amateur ranks, said: "It was a dream today. I was in the zone. But there's a long way to go; these are the best players in the world, and I will just be happy to make the cut."

"It was a privilege to play with Tom today. He was always my father's (former European Tour player Brian Lewis) favourite golfer," added Lewis. "My younger brother's name is Jack. When the draw came out on Monday I think Dad was more excited and more nervous than I was. I don't think he believed me at first. He's coming down here tomorrow and is obviously looking forward to it."

Due to turn pro after September's Walker Cup, Lewis has already signed for the mighty IMG. Earlier in the week, he told the Independent: "I'm going to turn pro the day after the Walker Cup in September," he said. "Unless I win here." Lewis wasn't joking.

He is coached by Pete Cowen, who said: "Tom is the most professional amateur I've ever seen," said Cowen, who has worked with him for four years. "He knows what he's doing, knows what he wants to do, he's got a path and nothing will stop him following that path."

A summer of links golf have prepared Lewis for this week's challenge, and he said he's probably played only one event on an inland course all year. 

He recently won the St Andrews Links Trophy at the home of golf and he won the British Boys title here.

Last November, when still a teenager, Lewis beat many European Tour regulars in the New South Wales Open before being pipped in a play-off by Peter O'Malley. Lewis went on to finish 12th in the Australian Open.

Father Brian is expected to arrive at Royal St George's tomorrow, despite nerves keeping him away for his son's opening round.