In the Bunker: Superb Molder proves there's no substitute for inexperience
Sunday 19 July 2009
Much has been made, thanks to Tom Watson's emergence as a beady-eyed putter, of the value of experience, and the presence of Watson and Mark Calcavecchia among the leaders seems to confirm it.
But how can we explain the expert play of the early clubhouse leader Bryce Molder yesterday (whose main claim to fame is that he once shot 60 while playing with Bill Clinton in Arkansas) or the joint second-round leader Steve Marino, who has never been to Britain before, or the young South Africans Thomas Aiken and Branden Grace, both of whom came through qualifying shootouts. So let's hear it for inexperience. Experience helped Mark O'Meara to an ugly triple bogey at the 18th – "I fatted it and chillied it like an amateur," he said – but Matteo Manassero, a total amateur and a teenager to boot, was inspired by the exact opposite. Innocence as a golf-instruction device? Calcavecchia would applaud. "I think experience is way overrated," he said. "All it means is I've hit more bad shots than the guys that are 20."
Gaunt's a lean machine
Such was the televised hullabaloo surrounding Tiger Woods' failure to make the cut on Friday that few noticed who shot the lowest round of the day. It was Daniel Gaunt, an Australian pro from Melbourne who fought his way through the two-round qualifying stage at Troon 10 days ago, and celebrated by shooting a bold 67 in classic links weather. A few weeks ago he was working in a golf equipment shop in Surrey, and giving himself three weeks to make some money as a pro or give up the ghost. Now, watched by his brother Chris (who missed out on a spot here by a single shot in final qualifying) he was beating Tiger Woods at Turnberry, and earning a pairing with Rory McIlroy. On the 16th tee he was beating him too, but his sand wedge spun into the creek and landed him with a triple bogey seven. He birdied the 17th hole before parring the last and managing to remain upbeat. "I hope I didn't kill anyone off the tee," Gaunt said. I did drive badly. But I'll go for the flag tomorrow, and hopefully pick up enough money to keep going."
Edfors revels in speed golf
The first man to finish yesterday set a pace few could match by racing around, alone, in three hours dead (the Royal & Ancient recommended time is four hours 25 minutes). "I was offered a marker to play with," said Johan Edfors (above), "but I chose to play on my own. I enjoyed it too." The crowd was sympathetic: he struck a lonesome figure. But he was enjoying himself. "My coaches told me not to rush, and I tried not to. I took my time around the greens." He still strode away from his pursuers. By the time he turned at the lighthouse he was two clear holes ahead of Robert Allenby and O'Meara, and with the wind behind him he extended his lead. It helped that he played all right. "I hit the ball well," he said, after a level-par round. As he fizzed the ball on the wind down the last two holes, huge crowds were streaming the other way in search of Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia. Most amateurs can be put off by the cough of a squirrel in a distant tree, but Edfors has the professional's biggest gift: focus. "I didn't even notice them," he said.
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