Dane Bjorn puts temper flare and penalty shots behind him

  • Other Sport
  • Sunday, 20 Jul 2003

DENMARK'S Thomas Bjorn moved to within two shots of Davis Love III's British Open lead on Friday and would have been sharing the pace but for a rare fit of temper in his opening round. 

Bjorn struck the sand with his club after failing to extricate himself from a 17th hole bunker on Thursday and the episode cost him a two-shot penalty. 

He was determined to put it behind him for his second round and carried out his plan to perfection with a one-under-par 70 which lifted him to one over after 36 holes and in joint second with S.K. Ho of South Korea on 143. 

Bjorn, who was tied runner-up behind Tiger Woods in 2000, told reporters on Friday that patience and safety-first would be the key to the rest of the tournament and his lapse, however costly, would not play on his mind. 

“It was a tough experience. Strange things happen in the Open and it probably wouldn't have happened at any other tournament,” he said. 

“I was just in the wrong frame of mind on that one occasion although if you actually look at what happened, I probably haven't left a ball in a bunker for 10 years and all I did was stand there and just scrape the sand which is what I usually do when I hit a bad bunker shot. 

“My attitude over the last six years has probably been the best ever and it wasn't nice to come out here today and have everybody reminding me about losing my temper. But you just have to live with it and I've shown that I've taken it in my stride and I'm proud of what I did today.” 

Bjorn, 32, a Ryder Cup player, has the credentials to break the four-year European drought of major wins after Paul Lawrie's Carnoustie British Open triumph of 1999. 

He has finished in the top 10 three times in his last five Open starts and his level-par return for the tricky backward nine at Sandwich on Friday proved he can handle the toughest the course can throw at him. 

“It'll be a nice feeling to know when I stand on that 14th tee that I can handle those difficult closing holes,” he said. – Reuters 

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