ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND, JULY 21 -- It's the invasion of the qualifiers. Paul Broadhurst, 24, a largely unknown Englishman with a cut over one eye, shot 63 and tied a variety of records today. He was the fourth man off the tee and began the day at 1 under par, but finished it at 10-under 206 and well in contention.
He was not quite as obscure as Jamie Spence, the English qualifier who on Friday shot 65, or quite as well known as Ian Baker-Finch, the qualifier from Australia who shot 64 today. Broadhurst was the low amateur in the 1988 British Open, and won a tournament in Cannes last season as he was named the European Tour's rookie of the year. But he had been absent four months after surgery on his left wrist for a trapped nerve.
He suffered the cut Friday night when he called the Royal and Ancient Golf Club to find out whether he had made the cut to the low 72 players. When he stepped into a phone booth, he hit the sliding door.
"I got a nasty crack on the head," he said. "That might have done the trick."
He hoped to work his way into the top 25 of the field. Instead he shot a 29 on the first nine of St. Andrews. Seven birdies included six consecutively from the fifth through the 10th. It was the lowest score ever in an Open at St. Andrews, and it tied the record for lowest score in any Open, a mark jointly held by Isao Aoki, Mark Hayes and Greg Norman.
It also tied the record for lowest round in any major championship. The last time anybody shot 29 on the first nine of St. Andrews in an Open was 1970, when Tony Jacklin did it.
"I just tried to keep going," Broadhurst said. "I couldn't really believe what was happening."
He gathered a huge crowd as he progressed across the course. "It was a reception on every hole," he said. He played with David Graham, who kept his scorecard and offered encouragement. "Just carry on," Graham said. "And I'll write a birdie down on every hole."
It was not a totally uncharacteristic round. Broadhurst won his first tournament in Cannes last year helped by a 65 in the first round. He shot another 65 last week in the Scottish Open. His best performance this season after recovering from surgery was a tie for 11th, and it remained to be seen how he would fare in the heat of a final round in the British Open.
"I'll find out," he said. "A lot of newcomers come out and shoot 80."
Avoiding the Garden
The blind tee shot at the Road Hole, the par-4 17th of 461 yards, can confuse even the most experienced player. The hole requires a drive to the right around the corner of The Old Course Hotel, but too far to the right can carry you into the garden. Players tend to aim at the letters on the hotel marquee or some other landmark.
"I just try to miss the house," Payne Stewart said.
"I hit at the OLD," Peter Jacobsen said.
Scott Hoch hit at the hotel also -- and also hit it on Friday. His tee shot plunged into the porch area out of bounds and he took a 9.