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Congratulations, it's a 68 for Luke Donald

BRITISH OPEN NOTES

No. 1 player gives his caddie the day off for the birth of his first child.

July 20, 2012|By Jeff Shain
  • Luke Donald makes a club selection with the help of caddie John McLaren during the first round of the British Open on Thursday.
Luke Donald makes a club selection with the help of caddie John McLaren during… (Harry How / Getty Images )

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England -- World No.1 Luke Donald gave his caddie the day off Friday, allowing John McLaren to rush home for the birth of his first child during the British Open's second round.

Who knows? An extra paternity day might even be in order.

Gareth Lord, left without a gig when Robert Karlsson withdrew on the eve of the Open, filled in ably as Donald fired a two-under-par 68 at Royal Lytham. Down in London, McLaren and wife Helen welcomed daughter Georgina Elizabeth into the world.

"I told John not to rush" back, said Donald, who has been sharing a rental home this week with both McLaren and Lord.

"For me that was an important thing in my life, to be around for that — especially the first one. But I know what he's like. He's very passionate about his job as well."

Donald has had success with Lord as a fill-in before. When Donald added last year's Disney finale to his schedule in a quest for the money title, Lord took the bag so McLaren wouldn't have to spring for a last-minute ticket from the UK.

Donald wound up winning Disney with a final-day charge, giving him the first leg of a transatlantic money-title double.

That's hospitality

It turns out Rory McIlroy did more than give a signed glove to the fan he beaned with an errant drive Thursday.

After learning Jason Blue had been staying at a campground for a chance to see the Open, he sprung to put Blue and his traveling partner in a hotel room and gave them a little more than 100 pounds of spending money.

"I thought it was the least I could do," McIlroy said. "I didn't want him sleeping the night in a tent with a massive gash in the side of his head.

"I actually tried to get them into the hotel for a couple more nights, but they were just fully booked. So last night was the only night they got to spend, but as I said, it was the least I could do."

Bank shot

Mark Calccavecchia, the 1989 Open champion, showed a little savvy in escaping a tight spot to finish his 68.

Pinched up against the lip of a bunker at No.18, the 52-year-old banked his escape off a grandstand to give him an angle to the green. He kept the damage at a bogey.

"Not too often are you excited about making a bogey on the last hole," Calcavecchia said, "but that was a good one."

Tap-ins

After a three-putt at No.17 set the stage for an early exit, Tom Watson pulled himself back above the cut line by draining a 25-foot birdie at No.18. Adding to the tale, Watson said he misread the putt. "The ridiculous to the sublime," the five-time champ quipped. … David Duval, winner 11 years ago when the Open last came to Royal Lytham, missed the cut but still has weekend work. He'll pick up a microphone to serve as analyst for ESPN3 supplemental coverage. … There will be no low amateur this year. The Open had only two, and neither Alan Dunbar nor Manuel Trappel made the cut.

jshain@orlandosentinel.com

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