Unmasking Muirfields Unknows

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The top of the leaderboard at the 131st Open Championship is filled with household names like Els, Woods, Montgomerie, Price and O'Meara. But it also contains some lesser known names who have put together two solid rounds to stand alongside the world's best.
 
The following is a quick guide to help you get to know some of the men who find themselves near the top at Muirfield, but near the bottom of golf's consciousness.
 

 

Soren Hansen
Career Statistics
 

Rd. 2 Position: T6
Country: Denmark
Age: 28
Turned Pro: 1997
Current Tour: European
World Rank: 88th
Wins: 1 (European)
Best Open Finish: T83 (2001)
Hansen picked up his first European victory on the fourth hole of a plauoff at the 2002 Murphy's Irish Open. Coached by former European Tour player, Anders Sorensen, coach to the Danish national team. Partnered Thomas Bjrn to a share of second place in the WGC-EMC2 World Cup as Denmark lost out to South Africa in a play-off.

 

Carl Pettersson
Career Statistics
 

Rd. 2 Position: T6
Country: Sweden
Age: 24
Turned Pro: 2000
Current Tour: European
World Rank: 76th
Wins: 1 (European)
Best Open Finish: N/A
Pettersson won the 2002 Algarve Open de Portugal in a play-off with David Gilford. Father, Lars was an Executive for Volvo Trucks Division, resulting in Carl moving from Sweden to England Raleigh, North Carolina. Won four All-American titles while studying at North Carolina State University. Won the European Amateur in 2000.

 

Des Smyth
Career Statistics
 

Rd. 2 Position: T6
Country: Ireland
Age: 49
Turned Pro: 1974
Current Tour: European
World Rank: 279th
Wins: 8 (European)
Best Open Finish: T4 (1982)
Smyth became the oldest winner in European Tour history by winning the 2001 Madeira Island Open at the age of 48 years and 34 days - 20 days older than the previous oldest champion, Neil Coles. Has won in four different decades. Member of two Ryder Cup teams (1979, '81). Six-time winner of Irish National Championship. Was a member of Irish team which won the Alfred Dunhill Cup in 1988.

 

Stephen Ames
Career Statistics
 

Rd. 2 Position: T9
Country: Trinidad & Tabago
Age: 38
Turned Pro: 1987
Current Tour: PGA Tour
World Rank: 75th
Wins: 2 (European) 1 (Buy.Com)
Best Open Finish: T5 (1997)
Ames is the first player from the caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Grandmother was two-time golf champion of Trinidad & Tabago. Won 1991 Pensacola Open on then Hogan Tour. Claimed first European title at 1994 Open V33 then won again in 1996 Benson & Hedges Int'l Open. Best PGA Tour performances were third place finishes at 1998 Nissan and 1999 Sprint Int'l.

 

Thomas Levet
Career Statistics
 

Rd. 2 Position: T9
Country: France
Age: 33
Turned Pro: 1988
Current Tour: European
World Rank: 134th
Wins: 2 (European)
Best Open Finish: T49 (1999)
Levet was born into a sporting family. His father, a doctor, played hockey and tennis, while his mother played volleyball for France. Became first Frenchman to play on PGA Tour in 1994. Picked up first European Tour win at the 1997 Cannes Open, becoming the first Frenchman to win in France since 1969. Earned his seconf title at the 2001 Victor Chandler British Masters, after a four-way play-off.

 

Ian Poulter
Career Statistics
 

Rd. 2 Position: T9
Country: England
Age: 26
Turned Pro: 1994
Current Tour: European
World Rank: 108th
Wins: 2 (European)
Best Open Finish: T64 (2000)
Poulter won in each of his first two seasons on the European Tour. Won the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award in 2000. Sealed the award by winning the Italian Open and finishing 31st on the 2000 Order of Merit. Earned second title six months later at the 2001 Moroccan Open. Won the Open de Cte d'Ivoire on the Challenge Tour in 1999.

Full Coverage of the 131st Open Championship
 
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