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Amateur Lewis sets sights on top-15 finish

SANDWICH, England – A day after making history, Tom Lewis was content just to make the cut at the British Open on Friday.

Playing with eight-time major winner Tom Watson – the golfing great Lewis was named after – the 20-year-old Englishman posted the lowest score by any amateur at a British Open to take a surprise share of the first-round lead with a 5-under 65 on Thursday.

After a night’s sleep disturbed by about 80 congratulatory text messages, Lewis was back on the links course at Royal St. George’s 15 hours later for his second round.

This day proved a little more troublesome. He shot a 74 to drop back into the pack at 1 under, but he’ll still be around at the weekend, unlike many leading names in the 156-player field.

“If you asked me two days ago, I would have taken this position,” Lewis said. “It would be nice to win the silver medal and try and finish top 15. Try and take one step at a time.

“Yesterday was a completely different day to today. Hopefully, I can have another one of yesterday’s scores tomorrow.”

Lewis said his father, former European Tour player Brian Lewis, was too nervous to be at the course to watch him during his second round, which began errantly as the amateur dropped three shots on the front nine.

Despite a birdie at No. 13 – described by Lewis as the highlight of his round – he threw away further shots on Nos. 17 and 18 to finish 1 under overall, tied for 15th as the second round drew to a close Friday.

Lewis said there had been a slight hangover from his amazing performance on the opening day, when he stole the show from Watson.

“I had to limit the damage and I felt there was loads of it out there,” he said. “Every hole felt like there was something, because the way I was hitting it wasn’t great. But this is only halfway through the event. I’ve got two days left and hopefully I can stay in the red and that won’t be too far away coming into the last day.”

Watson, a five-time winner of the British Open, provided a jolt in the second round with a hole-in-one at No. 6, his 4-iron bouncing once and dropping straight in.

“Not many people get that time with him,” said Lewis, who is set to turn professional after the Walker Cup in September. “It was really nice. He gave me some advice round the course so that was a thrill.”

With Tiger Woods one of three players to shoot 66 at the British Open as an amateur, Lewis has already dislodged the 14-time major champion from the record books. And he's also stated his desire to surpass the haul of six majors won by English great Nick Faldo, who hails from the same town north of  London.

“It’ll probably settle in next week, when I realize what I did that first day,” Lewis said. “Hopefully I can watch some of the footage and see how I look on TV.”