Friday, 19 March 2010
Greg Norman recovered from a poor start to take a one shot lead over Padraig Harrington into the final nine holes of The Open Championship.

Norman, at 53 looking to become the oldest ever major winner by five years, stepped onto the tee at 2.20pm at two over par and two strokes clear of Korea’s K J Choi and playing partner Padraig Harrington.

However, having bogeyed the first three holes and also the sixth, he was soon two shots behind defending Champion Harrington, who parred the first six, but ahead of free-falling Choi.

It seemed as though the Irishman was charging to a successful defence, but back fought Norman. He took three straight pars, while Harrington bogeyed the seventh, eighth and ninth.

Early on it seemed Norman would struggle in the winds gusting up to 40mph.

He found a greenside bunker with his second shot to the 450 yard opening hole and failed to get up and down.

Harrington, aiming to become the first European player to successfully defend the title since James Braid in 1906, was 50 yards short of the green in two but pitched within inches of the cup to save par.

Choi had also started with a bogey to drop back to five over par.

Norman's lead disappeared on the second hole when he again found rough off the tee, missed the green with his approach and missed from four feet for par.

And the Australian was soon one behind when he bogeyed the third as well, Harrington's opening three pars enough to lead on his own for the first time.

Simon Wakefield then joined Norman in second place with a birdie from four feet on the fifth, and Bristol amateur Chris Wood was going superbly too, the 20 year old picking up a birdie on the seventh to lie four off the lead.

Harrington's first mistake of the day came on the par-three seventh, pulling his tee-shot into the crowd and being fortunate the spectators stopped it going further into trouble.

And another bogey quickly followed when he three-putted the eighth to drop back to six over par and into a share of the lead with Norman. He then bogeyed the ninth to give Norman the sole lead.

Wakefield is currently eight over after ten, tied in third with Ian Poulter, who has passed the 13th.

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