Precise Weir finds pragmatism pays

Mike Weir made his debut in The Open Championship at Carnoustie five years ago. The Canadian would have been forgiven for thinking he was at a US Open. He shot an 83 in the first round yet still made the cut.

Mike Weir made his debut in The Open Championship at Carnoustie five years ago. The Canadian would have been forgiven for thinking he was at a US Open. He shot an 83 in the first round yet still made the cut.

Since then the 34-year-old has gone about learning the art of links golf. A 71 on Thursday was his best opening in an Open. Yesterday morning he was the first man to break 70, helped by three birdies in a row from the 5th.

A 68 left him at three under par. "The wind was strong from the get-go," he said. "When I woke up at 4.30 it was blowing hard and just continued."

Weir won the Masters last year to become only the second left-hander to win a major championship after Bob Charles at The Open in 1963. Through his rise into the top 10 on the world's rankings it was thought Weir's game was suited to links golf and this weekend the theory could be confirmed.

"My game is a precision game," he said. "I'm not a power player. I need to plot my way around the course and I did that well today. I hit the ball low anyway, so I don't have to fight that."

His six-iron at the short 5th, with the wind blowing off the sea on the right rather than helping or hindering, was as precise as anyone could wish for. It finished only three feet from the hole and his putter never had too much work to do. The longest putt required on any of his four birdies was from 15 feet at the 7th.

Rarely did he attempt anything more than positioning his ball in the most pragmatic spot for the shot that followed. It was a game plan refined during a week's stay at the Turnberry Hotel. Not only did he play at a stunningly beautiful course further down the Ayrshire coast, he also paid his respects at Prestwick, the original venue for The Open which meets Royal Troon at the far end of the course, and jetted up north to Dornoch.

"This year was the same as the last couple in that I came over early to get used to playing links golf again," he explained. "When the tournament starts, I don't like feeling I'm going straight into it from US golf.

"I am learning how to play shots over here. In the past I'd try to hit, say, my eight-iron my usual distance, perhaps 155 yards. But today I hit a five-iron when my playing partners were hitting eight-irons. I am keeping the ball low and using my imagination more than four or five years ago. That's important when it gets hard and fast."

While David Howell, the Englishman, and the Australian Aaron Baddeley scored 76 and 75 respectively, Weir was utilising his grandfather's Scottish ancestry to good effect.

"I am playing more with feel," he said. "I try to eyeball the yardage and then check with my caddie. You still need to know what the number is but there are a lot more factors that also come into what shot you play than in the US."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world