Goosen shares clubhouse lead with Weir in British Open

July 17th, 2008 - 10:56 pm ICT by IANS  

By V. Krishnaswamy
Southport (Britain), July 17 (IANS) Canadian Mike Weir and South African Retief Goosen took contrasting routes for a share of the clubhouse lead with a one-under 71 each midway through the first day of the 137th British Open at the wet and windy Royal Birkdale Golf Club here Thursday. Weir shot a double bogey on the 16th and then landed the day’s only eagle on the 17th for his 71, while Goosen had three bogeys and one birdie in the last four holes, but still came in with a 71.

“It was tough out there, I had to battle through the day. I’ve probably played in similar weather on other golf courses but not as tough as this one. The ball was going absolutely nowhere into the wind. I suppose on any other golf course you probably would have shot six or seven under,” said the two-time US Open champion Goosen.

Goosen and the 2004 Augusta Masters champion Weir apart, there was the Australian duo of youth and experience Adam Scott, the current World No. 4, and Greg Norman, the former World No. 1, who were attracting a lot of attention.

Scott was one-under through 10 holes while the 53-year-old Norman was at even par after 11 holes. Norman opened with a bogey but then found a birdie on third and then parred the next eight to be even after 11.

For almost eight and a half hours since play began in the morning, there was a continuous drizzle accompanied at times by a wind that at times was as strong as 55 miles per hours. Also the rains earlier in the season had also made the roughs at Birkdale tough and at places almost knee high.

With the world’s best golfer, Tiger Woods, not being in the field the focus has been on World No. 2 Phil Mickelson. But ‘Lefty’ Mickelson finished at nine-over par 79 including a triple bogey on the sixth where he suffered a ‘lost ball”.

The day was even worse for two-time Open winner, Ernie Els, and Fijian Vijay Singh, the last man to have held the World No. 1 position in the Woods era. They had an 80 each and as is the case with Mickelson they would need a huge effort to stay alive for the weekend.

However defending champion, Padraig Harrington, who had said that he would not have played this week if it were not for the fact that this is the British Open made light of the wrist pain that hindered his Open preparations, shot four-over 74.

The best Asian finisher thus far was powerlifter turned golfer, K.J Choi of South Korea, who shot a two-over 72.

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