July 16, 2009

Birdies And Bogeys

Recapping the highs and lows of Friday at Turnberry

TURNBERRY, Scotland -- Another day of intrigue at the 138th British Open. Who flourished? Who faltered? Let's delve deeper with another edition of birdies and bogeys.

Birdie: Bookmaker William Hill -- It's not often a bookie has a heart, but the gambling firm offered to donate 750 pounds to the "Help For Heroes" program -- a charity that assists soldiers wounded while on duty -- for every birdie or eagle made by Ian Poulter during the Open Championship.

Bogey: Ian Poulter -- The bookies, as usual, must have known something. Despite saying, "It'll make me determined to go low at Turnberry, knowing every birdie will help a great cause," Poulter may have been trying too hard. His one and only birdie came on the 17th hole Friday, his 35th hole of the tournament. At 14-over par Poulter did not get to play the weekend to try and add to the total. Nice going. Good job. Well done.

Birdie: Tom Watson -- Friday had all the makings of a "exit stage left" round for the 59-year-old five-time champion. After Watson channeled magic on Thursday and returned to choppier conditions for his afternoon tee-time, no would have been surprised to see him slip off the leaderboard. Instead, Watson held steady, rolling in a couple epic putts to claim a share of the lead heading into the weekend.

Bogey: Tiger Woods -- Sure, it's golf, and everyone misses cuts. But given the form he had displayed just two weeks earlier in his win at Congressional, Woods firing up the jet on Friday is more surprising than the end to the "Crying Game".

Birdie: Tiger Woods -- Having said all that, Woods still managed to make it interesting right until the very end. At seven over through 15 holes, he birdied each of the next two holes, and would have made the cut had he holed his chip from right off the green. The ball came up three feet short, but would you have been surprised if he made it?

Bogey: Turnberry marshals -- Really, how hard is this job? You tell people to stand. You make sure they don't sneak under the ropes. And when the best player in the world hits a ball in your direction, YOU DON'T LOSE IT! Sure, it ultimately was Tiger Woods' fault that he hit a ball off line on the par-4 10th and into the fescue. But it's not like he was the only one watching him hit. Instead, the lost ball led to a double bogey, which appeared to send him on a downward spiral on the back nine.

Birdie: Steve Marino -- Not only did Marino fashion a two-under 68 in the tough morning conditions, but he did so in style, holing a sand wedge shot for a birdie on No. 3 after laying up out of the hay and then holing a bunker shot on the par-3 sixth for another birdie. An eagle on 17 simply added to the pyrotechnics.

Bogey: Tomohiro Kondo -- The Japanese Tour player came to Turnberry armed with a yellow golf ball. Puh-leeze. This is the Open Championship not the Ladies nine-holers string tournament. Besides, if you're going to use a colored ball, shoot better than 79.

__Bogey:__Mike Weir and Ben Curtis -- After thrusting themselves into the mix with good rounds Thursday, each fell apart in the early-morning elements. Playing in the same group, Curtis opened with a birdie then had six bogeys and a double over his next seven holes leading to an 80. Weir, meanwhile, tripled the par-5 seventh and shot 78. The group's third, Ross Fisher, shot 66. In other words, it wasn't THAT difficult boys.

Compiled by E. Michael Johnson and Sam Weinman