TROON, Scotland -– Was it the south wind? Or was it the burden of expectations?
Greg Norman chose the former to explain his bumpy start at the Senior British Open. The Shark bogeyed five of the first eight holes at Royal Troon this morning and then failed to capitalize on his opportunities on the homeward nine, finishing at 4-over-par 75. “I really got off to a poor start,” said Norman, who came to Troon as the favorite after stunning the world with his T-3 finish in last week’s Open Championship. “I never played this golf course in this wind before. I didn’t feel that confident with some of the tee shots, to tell the truth, and I hit it in a couple of divot holes, which didn’t make me feel too good. That was it, really.”
Norman played with defending champion Tom Watson and former Masters and U.S. Open champ Sandy Lyle. Both those golfers agreed that the warm southeast breeze was baffling, even if it never blew more than 10 or 15 mph. “We don’t usually play Troon with this type of wind,” said Watson. “That made it play completely differently than it did Monday and Tuesday.” Lyle, who matched the Australian’s 75, said that Norman had “a little bit of an aerie-faerie start. He looked a little impatient. But he eventually settled down and got some feel back in his game.”
Indeed, Norman birdied 13 and 18 and scared the hole a couple of other times on the closing nine. “I just had to hang in there and gut it out the best I could,” he said. “The ball just wasn’t rolling my way.”
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