From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Old Course drops its guard on Thursday

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If Wednesday was supposed to be a precursor of the weather that was to come this week, then golfers in the field at the 150th edition of the Open Championship were in for a real treat.

Winds and stinging rain pelted the Old Course at St. Andrews on Wednesday, sending most of the field scurrying around the course in an attempt to get in as many holes as possible. The weather washed out the four hole exhibition that was supposed to be a curtain call of sorts for some of the game’s best players.

The forecast called for similar weather on Thursday. But that weather never arrived. Instead, players awoke to calm conditions and an overnight rain that left the Old Course with soft conditions and very little wind — also known as perfect scoring conditions.

As expected, the field took advantage of those conditions on Thursday. They didn’t just beat the course into submission; they chewed it up, spit it out, and then ran it through a wood chipper for good measure.

“The old lady had no clothes on today,” said Tom Watson, referencing the benign conditions on the course.

Rory McIlroy led the attack on the Old Course, equaling Payne Stewart’s record-setting score at Royal St. George with a 63 of his own. If it wasn’t for a missed 5-foot birdie putt on the 17th, the record would have been broken.

His back nine was where he made the most of the soft conditions, converting six birdie opportunities into a 30 that left him with a two-shot lead over South African Louis Oosthuizen. A number of big names are also two- and three-shots back of McIlroy, including Tiger Woods (5-under) and John Daly (6-under).

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Written by Jonathan Wall

07/15/2010 at 12:47 pm

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