Misty Muirfield to aid green speed

Former Open champion Mark O'Meara was out at 7.05am and began with two pars

Former Open champion Mark O'Meara was out at 7.05am and began with two pars

First published in National Sport News © by

Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson does not expect the greens at Muirfield to be as fast on the second day after a number of players complained following their first rounds.

Scoring was high on the firm and fast links as windy and sunny conditions dried out the putting surfaces, which some of the afternoon starters likened to glass.

England's Ian Poulter was the most critical, writing on Twitter: "8th hole is a joke, 18th needs a windmill & clown face."

However, slightly damper conditions - in addition to the greens being hand-watered on Thursday night - mean the R&A are hopeful it will help to lessen some of the difficulties.

"We have had a lot of mist and dew overnight," Dawson told Press Association Sport. "As the day went on yesterday the greens speeded up more than we expected because the temperature was higher than forecast.

"This morning is much damper. The greens are stimping (the measurement of the pace) just under what they were yesterday but don't expect them to get as quick."

The R&A's position on watering has been to do just enough to keep the grass alive as they do not want to significantly alter conditions.

On how much water had been put on during Thursday night, Dawson added: "A bit more, generally attacking the brown areas. There is no question of the greens dying. The roots are healthy.

"It was a great day yesterday for links course management. You had to hit the fairway to control your second shot and keep it below the hole."

There was not much evidence of improved scoring from the early starters with just three birdies from the 15 players out on the course in the first hour.

Korea's YE Yang and America's Johnson Wagner both birdied the second, which did more for the latter in getting him to one over as opposed to his partner who was seven over.

The third birdie went to Australian Marcus Fraser who holed from 15 feet on the second.

Former Open champion Mark O'Meara, joint second overnight on four under, was out at 7.05am with Fraser and began with two pars.

Fellow veteran Tom Lehman, just a shot and a group behind, also played the first in regulation.

O'Meara, winner of the Claret Jug in 1988, found rough and then sand at the second and missed an eight-footer to drop back to three under, where he remained after two-putting from just short of the green at the 226-yard fourth.

Fraser appeared to be having little difficulty, however, and after a fortunate bounce off the downslope of a bunker holed a two-foot putt at the third for back-to-back birdies and a return to even par.

Ahead of him Yang, 2009 US PGA Championship winner, was three under for his round - four over for the championship - after four birdies in seven holes after initially opening with a bogey.

Fraser gave back one of his shots at the 559-yard fifth while at the sixth O'Meara drove into deep rough and could not find his ball so had to return to the tee to play his third shot, finishing with a double-bogey six to drop off the first page of the leaderboard.

Sweden's Henrik Stenson birdied the first to move to two under.

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