Saturday, 16 July 2011
Tom Watson   (Getty Images)
Tom Watson (Getty Images)
Five-time Open Champion Tom Watson insists his experience should not be discounted as he bids to become a contender for The Claret Jug again.

The wily 61 year old, who two years ago almost pulled off a fairytale victory at Turnberry, shot a 72 in blustery and rainy conditions to share the early clubhouse lead with South Africa's Trevor Immelman on four over.

Watson's last Major came in 1983 at Royal Birkdale when he was 33, but after agonisingly losing a play-off to Stewart Cink in 2009 he has not ruled out being in the mix again - if the bad weather continues.

"It's what I'm here to do. These kids hit it so much further by me but it takes some guile and experience on these courses and it takes some luck," he said.

"A lot of times these young kids try to hit the ball hard but that doesn't flight the ball in the wind very well.

"In my case I can't hit it hard because I'm 61 so I flight it naturally and that is good in conditions like this.

"The most important thing here is you have to manage the holes properly.

"I do enjoy it, the challenge of dealing with these conditions is fun - it is a game.

"I beat the course a few times today and it was very good for me.

"I managed to get around with my putter today, which was spot-on.

"It saved me and now I know why I won all those Opens - that putter has been good to me.

"Today is one of those days I'll remember because it was a good day out there."

Despite the fact Watson assessed the gusts this morning as a "five-club wind" - he hit two drivers on the 469 yard fourth, the second just 180 yards, did not reach the green but still made par - he hopes for more of the same for the rest of the day and tomorrow.

He could happily do without the rain, however.

"It was impossible to stay dry so the caddie didn't make any difference as everything got wet," he added.

"You just try to do the best you can do, keep your grips dry and your wits about you because par is a good score out there.

"I liked the forecast yesterday - dastardly as Peter Alliss would call it - but without the putter doing what it did it could have been a 77 easily.

"If the wind stops blowing and the rain stops this course will be there for the taking."

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