It was a strange end to the tournament for England's Gary Evans. Playing some two hours before the final groups, he made a slew of birdies and was leading the tournament at 6 under par Sunday.
That's when he hit a wayward second shot at the par-5 17th into the rough _ and never found his ball.
"I couldn't believe I hit it into 150 people and no one saw it, no one heard it, not within 5 or 10 yards, no idea," Evans said. "There were just so many people there. I couldn't see my own shadow. I didn't feel too good when I was walking back down the fairway."
Because of the lost ball, Evans had to go back to his original shot and hit again, losing stroke and distance. Hitting 4, he knocked the next one on the green _ then holed a 50-foot putt to save par and remain at 6 under.
He jumped and danced and looked into the television camera, saying, "That's for you, mum."
Later, he explained: "I knew she would have been nearly in tears with me walking back down the fairway. It just sprung to mind. To have your son walking down the 17th fairway at the British Open with a chance to win and not to mess it up. the amount of people that are going to say to her, "Well, it was unlucky, wasn't it?' You can't believe how many times that would happen and may happen."
But Evans' good fortune did not hold. He missed the fairway and bogeyed the 18th hole, dropping to 5 under.
He missed the playoff by one shot.
_ BOB HARIG