Golf: Beef is dish of day as Johnston wows British Masters crowd

Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:58pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

WATFORD, England (Reuters) - Fan favorite Andrew 'Beef' Johnston had the galleries eating out of the palm of his hand with a buccaneering eight-birdie 65 in the British Masters second round on Friday.

An 11,000 crowd turned up at The Grove and most seemed to be rooting for the player affectionately known as 'Beef' after he surged to within one stroke of leader and fellow Englishman Richard Bland (64).

"The fans have been amazing," the bearded Johnston told reporters after his 10-under tally of 132 earned a share of second position alongside Swede Alex Noren (65).

"I have a good relationship with the crowds. I just have a good time with them, all the kids, all the people, coming up and asking for pictures and to sign stuff.

"Some guy last night asked me to sign his forehead so I put a big 'Beef' across it and took a picture," he said.

Johnston won a host of admirers around the world for the smiling way he interacted with the fans while finishing eighth in the British Open at Troon in July.

He may be an idiosyncratic showman but the 27-year-old can also produce some golfing fireworks.

Johnston started at the 10th hole on Friday and three times made inroads on par on his outward half before a crackerjack back nine saw him pick up five birdies and two bogeys.   Continued...

Andrew Johnston chips up on to the 17th green during the first round of the 2016 PGA Championship golf tournament at Baltusrol GC - Lower Course. Mandatory Credit: Eric Sucar-USA TODAY Sports