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'Beef' enamors British Open fans

Andrew Johnston of England has become a fan favorite at the British Open.

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Andrew Johnston of England has become a fan favorite at the British Open.

TROON, Scotland — Where's the beef at the British Open?

On the leaderboard.

Andrew Johnston, a burly, bearded Englishman who answers to the nickname "Beef," has become a fan favorite at Royal Troon with his impressive shots and jovial demeanor over the first three rounds. He is a guy everyone seems to relate to. And he sends the love right back.

"I'm no different than anyone else," Johnston said. "That's how I see it. I'll talk and chat to anyone. … I like meeting new people, and I don't care where they're from and who they are. If they're nice, I get on well with them, and I'm going to make friends."

The 27-year-old from the north of London has made plenty of friends along the Scottish coastline, literally bouncing around the course to the cascading chants of "Beeeeeeef!"

When a shot goes his way, he breaks into a huge grin. When a putt drops into the cup, his head bounces up and down in unison with the roaring fans. With a paunch that hangs noticeably over his belt line — the guy who is 5 feet 9 and says he's 225 pounds, likes to eat — he comes across as just one of the crowd.

"At the end of the day," he said, "I'm just a normal guy who happens to play golf."

He was one of only five players to break par all three days. Johnston shot 1-under 70 Saturday, which left him at 5-under 208, seven shots behind leader Henrik Stenson but the most noteworthy performance of his career.

McIlroy snaps: Rory McIlroy's 3-wood already wasn't in the best shape, he said, so it had no chance when he chucked the club to the ground in frustration after a bad shot at No. 16. It snapped in two.

Add it to the list of his club-throwing episodes.

McIlroy had slipped out of realistic contention during the third round when he pushed right his approach shot from the middle of the fairway. He reacted by hurling the 3-wood to the ground in front of him, and the head flew off.

"The club head came loose on it earlier on the week, and I had to get the head re-glued. So it was probably partly to do with that," McIlroy said, "and partly the throw as well. … I'll have it reshafted, and all will be well in the morning."

McIlroy shot 2-over 73 and was par for the tournament.

McIlroy also threw a club at the BMW PGA Championship in 2012 and '15, and perhaps more famously at the Cadillac Championship last year.

'Beef' enamors British Open fans 07/16/16 [Last modified: Saturday, July 16, 2016 11:32pm]
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