Thursday, July 14, 2011

Royal St. George's Turning Into Clemson Country

   Standing on the 14th tee at Royal St. George's Thursday afternoon, Lucas Glover and playing partner Robert Karlsson looked at each other and asked the same question:

   Where had the wind gone?

   The breeze that had given the Open Championship its bite died in the afternoon and Glover was among the players to take advantage, birdieing the last three holes to shoot a 4-under par 66 that left him one stroke behind co-leaders Thomas Bjorn and amateur Tom Lewis.

   "It's good," Glover, the former Clemson golfer and reigning Wells Fargo Championship winner, said of his leap up the leader board. "It's where you want to be but you want to be there on Sunday. We've got three more days to do it."

   With virtually no wind as Glover finished, he was able to be aggressive going into the greens, setting up a three-foot birdie putt at No. 16; a two-footer at the 17th; and, a 16-footer at the finishing hole.

  "Overall solid and then some fireworks at the end," Glover said of his day.

   Another former Tiger, Kyle Stanley wasn't in the Open until he finished solo second last week at the John Deere Classic, earning him a spot in the field at St. George's and a seat on the charter flight to England.

   The 23-year old tour rookie was smart enough to have packed his passport when he went to Illinois last week but didn't pack his warm clothes for the English summer. He was forced to hit the club pro shop to buy a long-sleeve turtleneck and he's taken advantage of the laundry service at the bed and breakfast where he's staying in nearby Dover to have clean clothes.

   Other than a 2007 Walker Cup appearance in Northern Ireland and a trip to Bandon Dunes in Oregon, Stanley has no real links experience.

   Stanley had made 15 of 20 cuts this season and he's playing his best golf of the year since Bobby Brown, Dustin Johnson's former caddie, went to work for him in June. He has let Brown set his practice schedule -- even on off weeks -- and the focus has been on Stanley's short game and putting.

   "I've made a lot of cuts this year but I hadn't put four good rounds together until last week," Stanley said. "I'm just trying to keep learning and keep getting better. I really, really care about what I do out on the course. Sometimes, I care to a fault."


Rudy James said...

Looking fwd to a great tournament! Nothing beats waking up early to watch the British Open, whether it's on Thursday and Friday before work, or on the weekend!!