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GOLF / BRITISH OPEN

Birdies & Bogeys: Watson gets cheers; Poulter struggles

A look at some of the ups and downs on Friday at the British Open

July 18, 2009|Chuck Culpepper

As the crowd stood and roared on No. 18, a 59-year-old and a 16-year-old walked up the fairway together, until the Italian phenom and top British Open amateur Matteo Manassero stopped, began applauding and let Tom Watson continue walking. Some people just know what to do, even in severe youth.

An insider's pick for contention before Thursday, the 2008 Open runner-up Ian Poulter of England dispensed a 75 and a 79 for a 14 over par that finished ahead of only six other golfers and said, "I hit my last good shot on the third -- yesterday. . . . It could have been the easiest municipal down the road and I would have missed the cut. It was horrible."

Mark Calcavecchia, 49, has excelled not only at golf here 20 years after his 1989 Open title at Troon, but with a rare candor that conveys accessible humanity. Having his wife, Brenda, as his caddie works swimmingly, he said, except on such occasions as the 2006 British Open at Hoylake, where, he said, "When I went berserk on the back nine on Sunday, I just ruined the whole week. I still feel bad about it. I wish she wasn't even there at that time."

BIRDIE

BOGEY

BIRDIE

BOGEY

2003 British Open champion Ben Curtis and 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir, embarked in the same threesome as two of the leaders, at five under par and three under, respectively, but by midday, both had vanished below the cut line. Curtis played a six-bogey, one-double bogey front nine and shot 80 with the caveat that he actually began with a birdie, and Weir plied four front-nine bogeys plus a triple-bogey 8 on No. 7 into a 78.

BIRDIE

Vijay Singh, 46, hasn't cracked a top 10 in his last 12 majors, missing five cuts, but even with a missed putt inside two feet along the way he loomed two shots off the lead at three under.

BOGEY

With the loud snit between Sandy Lyle and Colin Montgomerie, the Ryder Cup continues to butt into major tournaments, belying its rightful place as an extremely fun and intense competition with limited athletic significance given its exclusion of players from four other continents plus any elite golfers who happen to reside unknown beneath ice formations in Antarctica.

-- Chuck Culpepper

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