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Simon Dyson’s charge for Open Championship glory
DRIVING ambition was welded to accurate driving to keep alive York golf star Simon Dyson’s charge for Open Championship glory.
After a steady but unspectacular two-over-par first round 72, Dyson needed something special to ensure he advanced to the second half of the 141st Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes today.
And he achieved that aim in style.
In one of the most impressive rounds of the day – indeed for more than half of yesterday’s play on the Lancashire coast his three-under-par 67 was the best round in the clubhouse – the 34-year-old tamed the exacting Lancashire links course.
Said Dyson: “I played a lot better. I never drove it very well on Thursday, but I was a lot better off the tee in the second round.
“That gave me a lot more chances to attack the pin and it paid off.”
As the likes of multiple major winner Phil Mickelson crashed out as did Ryder Cup stalwart Paul Casey, Dyson surged forwards to comfortably survive the midway cut.
Unlike his opening round, yesterday’s start did not augur well for the world-ranked number 48.
He was another shot in arrears as early as the par-four third hole. But that was to be Dyson’s lone bogey of an otherwise flawless day.
His first birdie came on the seventh followed by another when he drilled in a lone putt for a two on the par-three ninth.
He was under-par for the tournament when he birdied the 11th and put the icing on the cake when he chipped at the 17th for his fourth birdie of the day to yield a 67.
Dyson was inches away from improving on that when a birdie putt on the last hole just ran out of oomph inches from the cup.
He added: “The closing holes on this course are very tough, so you’ll take anything like a birdie or a par on them.”
Dyson also revealed he was revelling in the fact that he was now playing injury-free after his early-season medical scare.
Back then doctors’ advice ordered him to stop playing before a pelvic complaint would develop into a certain stress fracture.
“I was very fortunate in that it was caught early enough,” recalled the man who finished ninth in last year’s Open at Royal St George’s GC, where he was the highest-placed Englishman.
Added Dyson: “If I had carried on playing and running on roads (as part of his fitness programme) I could have had to have surgery and it could have been pretty serious.
“But I rested it for five weeks and it has healed itself.”