Oosthuizen gaps field at windy Open

The vagaries of British links golf have been seldom more clearly illustrated than during the opening two rounds of the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews.

From the almost ridiculous ease in which the Old Course played in the opening hours of yesterdays first round to the 40mph wins that buffeted the course during the afternoon's play on day two, this was a day that gave St Andrews the chance to save face after the birdie onslaught she had copped on day one. She certainly did that.

Today only 21 players were under par for the day when play was halted, nearly all of those coming from the morning group whereas on the opening day 71 players had recorded rounds in the red. It was a remarkable turnaround.

Thirty golfers are required to return on Saturday morning to complete their second rounds after a lengthy delay caused when strengthening winds in the early after made the course unplayable. At 2.38pm play was called after players could not be assured that balls would remain stationary on the greens. At 3.50pm play recommenced but the delay had almost guaranteed play in the second round would not be completed on day two. That would prove to be the case.

Some have as many as eight holes to play, one of those being the Englishman Steve Tiley, a former Asian Tour and now Challenge Tour player, who had completed his 10th hole when the siren sounded just before 10.00pm local time. Tiley was in a share of third position at 6 under and just one behind the second placed Mark Calcavecchia, although six behind the 36 hole leader Louis Oosthuizen.

Three players are at 6 under including the aforementioned Tiley, Paul Casey and Lee Westwood while another nine are at 5 under. They are some distance from Oosthuizen's lead but in the event of a meltdown by the leader over the final 36 holes then this is a very congested leaderboard.

Oosthuizen at 12 under and his nearest pursuer Mark Calcavecchia, at 7 under, took advantage of their tee times on the opening two days. They had tee times within a group of each other in the late morning on day one and were then in the first two groups on day two. They have had the better of the draw without doubt although they will argue that the afternoon conditions on day one were hardly a snack and even early on day two there was a significant amount of rain to endure and wind, although a different wind to that later in the day.

It is one thing to get a break with the draw but another to take advantage of it however and there is little doubt that both have done just that.

Oosthuizen, after his opening round of 65, began the day two shots behind Rory McIlroy who would not tee off until nearly seven hours later. The 28 year South African, who has recorded only one victory on the European Tour, took up where he left off yesterday with three birdies before the turn and four more on the way in.

Although he included two bogeys in his final nine holes, when he birdied the final hole for 67 he led by three over McIlroy who had not even begun his warm up when the leader signed his card. Calcavecchia had finished his round of 67 just ten minutes earlier and at 7 under he was at that point in outright third position.

"It's probably the position everyone wants to be in playing a major in the weekend," said Oosthuizen after his round. "It's what we work to achieve and I am looking forward to the weekend."I think the win earlier in the year in Spain got my confidence going quite a bit and I have been playing well the whole year really."

"It is just a matter of making crucial putts. I am very confident with the way I am playing. I am hitting it well and having a lot of fun. I think it is very important to enjoy yourself on the course especially in weather like this."

First round leader, McIlroy, began the day encouragingly enough with three straight pars in the buffeting winds but when he bogeyed the 4th the floodgates opened. He would drop seven further shots and with a second round of 80 he walked from the course at 8.35 pm wondering what had hit him.

The leading Australian is Adam Scott at 2 under although the Melbourne based Korean, Jin Jeong, is at 5 under with a very realistic chance to make birdie at his final hole when he returns tomorrow morning.

Scott reached the turn in 33 and although he dropped shots on his way in, a birdie at the last leaves him well placed in a share of 28th position and not all that far from contention.

Jeong has played Pennants for the very successful Waverley Golf Club in Melbourne in recent years and is the recent winner of the British Amateur Championship at another Scottish links course in Muirfield. His has been a stunning performance irrespective of what develops over the remaining days.

50-year-old Peter Senior birdied the final hole to be at even par which at that stage left him wondering if he may or may not make the cut. He need not have worried as he is well and truly around for the weekend.

Also at even par are Marc Leishman, John Senden and Robert Allenby. They are assured of making the cut. Jason Day is at 1 over with three holes to play and Michael Sim at 2 over with six to play. With 1 over guaranteed a berth in the weekend field and 2 over still a possibility, both Day and Sim are still in with a chance.

Geoff Ogilvy finished at 6 over, Kurt Barnes and Cameron Percy are at 8 over, Mathew Goggin at 9 over and Ewan Porter at 12 over.

The Championship has seen several high profile casualties who will not be around for the weekend. Ernie Els, Kenny Perry, Geoff Ogilvy, Padraig Harrington and Jim Furyk were but a few of those whose chances were blown away by St Andrews fight-back on day two.

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