Friday, 19 March 2010

It was forecast that the weather gods would be kinder to the players at Royal Birkdale on Sunday, but as The Open Championship final round got underway that was not the case.

The day's play began with showers and winds still gusting up to 33mph, persuading the officials to reduce the tenth hole by 27 yards to 381 yards on the back of Saturday’s decision to shorten the sixth, 11th and 16th.

Good scoring was possible, though. South African Thomas Aiken had a hat-trick of birdies from the seventh to turn in 31 and improve from 18 over and 15 over.

And Justin Rose, who started the day at 18 over par, managed to pick up two birdies on the front nine, albeit at a cost of three bogeys.

Lee Westwood has dropped a further four shots to 21 over par, while David Duval, whose own personal resurgence has drawn attention in a tournament of surprises, has improved to 14 over par after going out in 33.

Greg Norman, at 53 trying to pull off one of the most remarkable-ever victories in sport, was two over and two ahead of defending Champion Padraig Harrington and South Korean K J Choi. They tee off in the afternoon.

The winds, which reached over 45mph yesterday, were expected to stay just below 40mph throughout the final day - still bad enough to blow any title contender off course.

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