Saturday 16 December 2017

Misty Muirfield to aid green speed

Rory McIlroy watches his tee shot on the 18th hole at Muirfield - it was a day to forget for the world no two
Rory McIlroy watches his tee shot on the 18th hole at Muirfield - it was a day to forget for the world no two

Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson does not expect the greens at Muirfield to be as fast on the second day after a number of players complained following their first rounds.

Scoring was high on the firm and fast links as windy and sunny conditions dried out the putting surfaces, which some of the afternoon starters likened to glass.

England's Ian Poulter was the most critical, writing on Twitter: "8th hole is a joke, 18th needs a windmill & clown face."

However, slightly damper conditions - in addition to the greens being hand-watered last night - mean the R&A are hopeful it will help to lessen some of the difficulties.

"We have had a lot of mist and dew overnight," Dawson told Press Association Sport.

"As the day went on yesterday the greens speeded up more than we expected because the temperature was higher than forecast.

"This morning is much damper. The greens are stimping (the measurement of the pace) just under what they were yesterday but don't expect them to get as quick."

The R&A's position on watering has been to do just enough to keep the grass alive as they do not want to significantly alter conditions.

On how much water had been put on last night Dawson added: "A bit more, generally attacking the brown areas.

"There is no question of the greens dying. The roots are healthy.

"It was a great day yesterday for links course management.

"You had to hit the fairway to control your second shot and keep it below the hole."

There was not much evidence of improved scoring from the early starters with just three birdies from the 15 players out on the course in the first hour.

Korea's YE Yang and America's Johnson Wagner both birdied the second, which did more for the latter in getting him to one over as opposed to his partner who was seven over.

The third birdie went to Australian Marcus Fraser who holed from 15 feet on the second.

Former Open champion Mark O'Meara, joint second overnight on four under, was out at 7.05am with Fraser and began with two pars.

Fellow veteran Tom Lehman, just a shot and a group behind, also played the first in regulation.

Press Association

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