Friday, June 15, 2007

Nick Dougherty sets the early pace(er..crawl)

One things for sure, overnight rain at the Oakmont country club made the players' affair with the beastly greens a little bit easier than expected. But if you are harbouring any thoughts of a scoring spectacle at Oakmont, wash that thought away because at the end of the first day only two players managed an under par score. Nick Dougherty with a well crafted 2 uner par 68 was the leader by one stroke over Angel Cabrera. Tiger was lurking in the shadows, just three off the pace and at tied fifth position with a round of 1 over. He is placed perfectly to launch an attack over the weekend. Phil Mickelson returning after the injury layoff turned in a round of 4 over par and would have to play some steady golf to book his place for the weekend. Among other players, the long hitting Bubba Watson turned in a nice round of even par and the Spanish veteran Jose Maria Olazabal also found a spot on the leaderboard with an even par round. Defending champion Ogilvy was right up there with a round of one over par and the previous winner at Oakmont, Els was at 3 over par and in tied 34th position.

The longest par 3 in open history, the 8th hole was the second most difficult hole on the course with most players struggling to make par there. The honour for the most difficult hole though went to the 18th hole as most players struggled to find the fairway there and if you miss the fairway there you might as well kiss your par goodbye. A par is golden and anything better than that should be considered a bonus at Oakmont.

The only thing working in the favour of the players is the weather and it is expected to be cloudy over the course of the tournament. While thats a good thing it would help if the wind stays down or else we could see major upheavals on the leaderboard. The second round promises to be an interesting affair with players jostling for a spot on the leaderboard while other try to hang on and make the cut.

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