Ripe scoring conditions greet Friday's early starters

Clear, sunny skies and very little wind welcomed the players as they set out to tame Royal St. George's Friday morning.That's good news for the early starters, who, among the players near the top of the leaderboard, include Kyle Stanley, Darren Clarke, Lucas Glover, Graeme McDowell and the amateur Tom Lewis, who was tied for the first-round lead with Thomas Bjorn at five under par.Bjorn goes off at 12:26 p.m local time (7:26 a.m. Eastern).As ever on the east coast of England, it's uncertain how long the good spell will last. Clouds are expected to gather throughout the afternoon, and some rain might roll in this evening, according to the official Open Championship forecast. The still conditions aren't expected to last either, with gusts of anywhere from 10 to 25 miles per hour predicted for the late afternoon and early evening.Saturday looks bleaker, with rain predicted for much of the morning. For the latest forecast, go to

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by Kevin Cunningham