Saturday 18 November 2017

Early golf starters struggle in bad weather

Phil Casey

It did not take long for Royal St George's to serve up a warning of what troubles lay in store for the remaining players in the Open Championship today.

Seventy one players made the halfway cut at three over, with all of them still in with a chance of victory giving the lead being shared at four under by Darren Clarke and Lucas Glover, coupled with the bad weather forecast.

That forecast proved unfortunately accurate as far as the early starters were concerned, with the par-four fourth hole playing particularly tough.

Measuring 495 yards on the card, the hole features the monstrous "Himalayas" bunker, which is around 40ft high and to be avoided at all costs, as Reg Glading discovered in the final of the English Amateur Championship in 1979.

Glading's ball lodged itself near the top and under the lip of the bunker. He climbed the hill, took a swing at the ball and fell head over heels back down the slope.

With the hole playing straight into the wind today the tee had been moved forward, but that did not stop the first five players out completing it in a cumulative 10 over par.

Australia's Matthew Millar - first out on his own at 8:55am - took six, while 1999 champion Paul Lawrie and Gregory Bourdy took seven and six respectively.

KJ Choi also carded a double-bogey six, leaving playing partner Paul Casey's bogey five looking like an eagle.

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