The Loop

Calcavecchia, Lehman won't follow Norman, Watson

July 17, 2010

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Through 36 holes of the British Open, it looked as if a fiftysomething former champion would be in serious contention for the claret jug for the third consecutive year. After 54 holes, it's a different story.

Mark Calcavecchia, 50, and Tom Lehman, 51, went in the wrong direction Saturday on the Old Course. Calcavecchia got off to a horrible start and shot a 77. Lehman played more consistently but couldn't offset three bogeys and finished with a 75. Both are T-26 at two-under 214, 13 strokes behind leader Louis Oosthuizen.

Calcavecchia, who won the 1989 Open at Royal Troon, bogeyed the first three holes and made an unusual quadruple-bogey 9 at No. 5 that occurred when he lifted his provisional ball believing his original ball had been found in the gorse. But the ball found wasn't his, and Calcavecchia incurred penalties for a lost ball and for lifting his provisional ball without authority.

Lehman, who triumphed at Royal Lytham in 1996, couldn't get any momentum going on the greens.

"I can't complain about the way I played," Lehman said. "I just never got the ball in the hole and had a lot of long birdie attempts."

While the duo won't figure in the final round the way Greg Norman did in 2008 at Royal Birkdale and Tom Watson did at Turnberry in 2009, where he had the lead playing the 72nd hole, Lehman said that it shouldn't be a huge surprise when seniors contend.

"I've always felt on good weeks, guys who are older an still competitive," Lehman said. "I think our best golf is still awfully damn good. We don't get there quite as often, but when you do play well, there are oppportunities."

-- Bill Fields