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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Broadhurst Grabs Early British Lead

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England -- Englishman Paul Broadhurst tied the Royal Lytham record at the British Open on Thursday and snatched an early two-stroke lead with a first round six-under-par 65.


Broadhurst, who also shares the British Open record with a round of 63, held off a band of six Americans and a fledgling Japanese outsider on a lovely summer's day on the 6,272-meter northwest England course. Then he said he still had to work on his game, especially on his driving.


"Fortunately I did not have to hit it often," he said. "But I feel absolutely shattered. It's hard work leading the British Open."


Less than half the 156-man field had completed their rounds when Broadhurst finished two clear of American money leader Mark O'Meara, Mark McCumber, Fred Couples, Loren Roberts, Brad Faxon and Tom Lehman.


Hidemichi Tanaka, a 25-year-old from Hiroshima playing in his first British Open on his first trip to Europe, joined the Americans on 67 and said that on a scale of one-to-100, "I'd give myself 20,000 today."


Masters champion Nick Faldo of Britain, celebrating his 39th birthday and chasing a fourth title in the event, was on 68 with Irishman Padraig Harrington.


"I felt this score was waiting to happen," said Broadhurst, who chipped superbly and needed just 11 putts on the last 10 holes as he matched the tournament-clinching 65 shot by Seve Ballesteros in 1988.


Broadhurst single-putted 13 times in all and made 30-footers at the ninth and the 17th holes, and 12-footers at the fifth and 14th to save par.


"This round surpassed my 63 at St. Andrews [in 1990] because though I probably played better there this is a tougher golf course. This certainly ranks among the best rounds of my life.


"Everybody dreams of leading the British Open and I'm no different. Even though it's early in the tournament there is still a lot of pressure.


"I think I'm good enough to win it but I'm not going to go around shooting my mouth off that I can win the British Open. I'm confident I can stay up there," he said.


After five opening pars the 30-year-old hit an eagle at the long sixth after a five-iron second to eight feet.


He birdied the ninth, 10th and 11th, parred the next five holes and then produced his second 30-footer at the 17th.


Ryder Cup player Faxon later joined the group in what he called "the Olympics of golf" and echoed earlier critics of some Americans -- notably exempted Scott Hoch -- who elected not to play.


Lehman had three successive birdies on the front nine and three out of four on the back after he had double-bogeyed the 13th, going into three bunkers.


World No. 1 Greg Norman, chasing a third title, shot a level-par 71.


"This is a 72-hole tournament not an 18-hole medal. I feel I'm right in there but I must be more aggressive on my putting," he said.


World No. 2 Colin Montgomerie could only manage a two-over-par 73. "The longest putt I holed was three feet. You need a bit of fortune out there. I didn't get any. Perhaps I'll have some tomorrow," said the 33-year-old Scot, who missed the halfway cut in three of the previous four British Opens.