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British Open birdies and bogeys

Turnberry shows that it is a major challenge.

July 19, 2009|Chuck Culpepper

Turnberry, a gorgeous underdog of a golf course mauled Thursday, rallied to win the 138th British Open by Saturday, establishing again its heft among Open courses. Criticized for its remote location behind two-lane roads, questioned for the low scores it had yielded in three previous Opens, and cornered when 50 players broke par on a tranquil Thursday, the Ailsa Course dug deep and revealed a menacing set of teeth even in the sunshine. With help from its dearest friends, diabolical crosswinds, it permitted only five rounds under par and only one of them -- the 67 from Bryce Molder -- more than one under par. Besides, the view out into the Irish Sea toward Ailsa Craig -- the extinct volcano that may have roared 500 million years ago, thereby preceding even Tom Watson's career -- qualifies as stunning, especially if while viewing it you're not attempting to play golf.

As yet another human being foiled by the wholly insufficient invention known as the putter, Sergio Garcia seemingly will have to wait yet another major for that incredibly elusive first title. His 76 on Saturday left the 29-year-old nine shots from the lead and trailing 42 golfers, mostly because it included a whopping 35 putts, including another of those veering two-footers.

Here's a cheer for the late Julius Boros (1920-94), who won that 1968 PGA Championship at Pecan Valley in San Antonio by one shot over Arnold Palmer and Bob Charles for his third major title, and who did so at such an advanced age -- 48 -- that his oldest-major-winner record has stood for 41 years and 163 majors as it goes under threat again today.

BIRDIE

BOGEY

BIRDIE

BOGEY

Retief Goosen on No. 7 and Lee Westwood on No. 18 each had shots from the predatory rough that burrowed right back down basically inches from where they started, earning them dropped shots but also global empathy.

BIRDIE

Only five shots off the lead lurks one of the more unlikely Sunday pairings in world history -- Masters champion Angel Cabrera, who quit school in sixth grade to caddie and basically grow up at the Cordoba Country Club in Argentina, and Florida-panhandler Boo Weekley, who worked as a hydroblaster at the Monsanto chemical plant after failing out of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

BOGEY

Westwood, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Luke Donald, David Howell, Justin Rose, by now Ross Fisher, and more names still: The 21st-century British golfers surely have wearied of hearing how no British golfer has won any major since Paul Lawrie in 1999. Of course, there's only one way to stop the refrain.

-- Chuck Culpepper

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