Fifty two year old American, Tom Lehman, carded a second round three under par 67 to post his best round at The Open since closing with a 66 to finish tied 24th at the 1997 Open Championship at Royal Troon.
The round catapulted Lehman into the top-10 on two under 138 and gives him the opportunity to overhaul compatriot, Julius Boros, as the oldest ever winner of a Major Championship. Boros was 48 years, four months and 18 days old when he won the PGA Championship in 1968. The oldest winner of The Open was Tom Morris Sr, who was 46 years, 3 months and 9 days old when he won in 1867.
The only other time Lehman, a veteran former Ryder Cup captain, has scored lower was during a third round 64 en-route to winning the 1996 Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Lehman is not the only veteran American to make a move during the round of the 140th Open Championship at Royal St George’s.
With rounds of 70 and 68, Davis Love III, the 2012 US Ryder Cup captain, has equalled his best opening 36-hole Open total, set at Turnberry in 1994.
Love goes into the third round tied with Lehman on 138 and with a good chance to improve on the best ever Championship finish. That also came at Royal St George’s, back in 2003, when he led after opening rounds of 69-2, eventually finishing fourth.
Watson, currently at 2-over 142, is seeking to make the cut at the age of 61 years, 10 months and 11 days. By comparison, Sam Snead is the oldest player to make the cut in a Major Championship, doing so at the age of 67 years, 2 months, 7 days at the 1979 PGA Championship (finished T42).
With five wins at the Open (1975, ‘77, ‘80, ‘82, ‘83), Tom Watson trails only Harry Vardon (1896, ‘98, ‘99, 1903, ‘11, ‘14) with a record six victories in the Championship.