For those of you lucky enough to be planning a trip to Turnberry this weekend I can recommend an excellent vantage point from which to catch a good portion of the early play. Go into the stand behind the first green and head for the very top right corner as you look at it. From there you can see – the whole of the first, the second tee and the rest of that hole (might require binoculars to see what’s happening up at the green,) second shots being hit to the third green and the third green itself, plus the fourth green.
I was so chuffed with my spot that I decided to stay there for an hour to watch some of Thursday’s “marquee groups” beginning their rounds.
Colin Montgomerie was first through playing with Zach Johnson and KJ Choi. All three made par at the first. The trio didn’t say much to each other through the time I was watching them and I would guess there will have been very few words exchanged by the time they all putt out on the 18th green.
Next up was the three-ball of Rory McIlroy, Retief Goosen and Anthony Kim. The two youngsters were bounding about all down the fairway as “The Goose” sauntered down serenely, already lost in concentration. McIlroy said in his press conference yesterday that he was glad to be paired with Kim as it meant he’d have someone to talk to as “Goosen doesn’t say a word,” apparently. Three pars from this group.
Then came a group featuring the most disappointing post-war Open Champion Todd Hamilton. He was joined by the, smooth swinging, Dane Soren Hansen and a Japanese player I’ve never heard of called Tomohiro Kondo. I was expecting very little excitement from this group but my fears were misjudged. I was, in fact, very excited when the diminutive Kondo fired a yellow ball onto the green. I had thought the yellow ball was a thing of the past but apparently not. Unless, I suppose, he’s using an old Pinnacle he found in the rough during yesterday’s practice. Three more pars.
JB “Put the kettle on I’m starting my pre-shot routine” Holmes came through next accompanied by a very patriotic looking Ian Poulter. He’s dressed today as if he’s off to attend the Last Night of the Proms. By contrast, the third member of the group Miguel Angel Jimenez was looking suave and understated in a cappuccino coloured outfit and his trademark, Italian, custom-made shoes. Two pars and a bogey for Poults.
The next group featured two huge hitters – Paul Casey and Angel Cabrera, both are serious contenders for the title this week and the fact that both made opening birdies would serve to confirm this. Ryuji Imada, third member of the three-ball, made a great up-and-down from the bunker short of the pin for a tidy par.
The final group I watched featured 2007 and 2008 champion Padraig Harrington, Jim Furyk and Geoff Ogilvy. All three found the green but only Ogilvy could convert. He had hit it to two feet though.
Surely Harrington can’t do it again, particularly given the way he’s been playing. He’s just made it to one-under though…