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Players go low again in morning rounds

After a mild Thursday when Rory McIlroy shot a British Open record 63 and a randy Tom Watson declared that "the lady didn't have any clothes,” Friday morning saw some heavy rains and stronger wind at the Old Course. But that wasn’t enough to slow the morning attack players are making on these ancient links before the afternoon wind gets up
Louis Oosthuizen shot a 5-under 67 to take the tournament lead at 11-under, and 1989 British Open champion Mark Calcavecchia posted another four birdies en route to a 67. Paul Casey had a great start to his morning round, with birdies on his first three holes.Calcavecchia, the 1989 British Open champion, teed off in the first group at 6:30 a.m. under clear skies and it looked like he and his playing partners were trying to beat the rain clouds to the course. The starter had barely finished saying "Mark Cal-ca-vecchia" when Calc's ball was sailing into the first fairway. They didn't beat the rain of course -- a series of brief downpours started a couple hours later -- but they did finish in close to four hours, a good two holes ahead of the group behind them."I'm just happy to have a tee time for tomorrow," Calcavecchia said. The cut line -- top 70s and all ties -- is currently at 1-under but will likely dip lower as Rory McIlory (9-under) and other Day 1 leaders like John Daly (6-under) and Tiger Woods (5-under) tee off this afternoon.
All those red numbers shouldn’t be a surprise, according to Michael Corcoran, author of Duel in the Sun: Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus in the Battle of Turnberry, because the Old Course is the least-challenging of all major venues.
“In average weather—even with normal winds for the setting—the Old Course, beloved as it is, is just a pitch and putt with deep bunkers and one hard hole,” Corcoran said. “It was more mysterious and challenging before the big changes in equipment, but for modern players using modern gear, the course offers no more challenge than your local muni.”
The only protection the course really has against Tour pros is brutal weather and that’s not in the forecast Friday or for the rest of the week. Players will see more wind on Friday, about 10-15 mph wind early this afternoon, increasing to 20-25 mph later in the day, but the rain is expected to be patchy and conditions should be dry by the end of the day.
Here’s the extended forecast from Met Office, the national weather service of the UK: Saturday: Rather cloudy with patchy light rain at first. Becoming mostly dry with bright or sunny intervals. Wind west to southwesterly 15 to 10 mph with gusts 25 with occasional gusts to 30 mph possible. Sunday: Rather cloudy. Some lengthy dry and bright spells, but also a little patchy light rain, especially in the morning. Wind southwest 15 to 25 mph.

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by Kevin Cunningham