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Open lives up to unpredictable weather reputation

HOYLAKE, England (AP) — The British Open once again lived up to its fickle, unpredictable weather reputation, and doesn’t half the field at Royal Liverpool know it.

Ideal weather greeted morning groups Thursday, but the wind picked up in the afternoon. On Friday, those same afternoon golfers got the worst of gusty morning conditions.

By midday Friday, the wind died down, creating similar conditions for the same lucky golfers who benefited from good scoring opportunities Thursday morning.

That left George Coetzee, who shot 69 Friday, as the only player on the leaderboard who drew the unlucky Thursday afternoon-Friday morning double.

Those guys shouldn’t despair: Padraig Harrington experienced battering wind and rain during his first round at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and shot 74. Three days later, he won his second British Open.

U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer shrugged his shoulders when asked Friday about his unlucky draw over the first two rounds — a 1:38 p.m. (1238 GMT) start with gusting winds Thursday and even worse conditions Friday when he began play at 8:37 a.m.

“I can’t take care of the weather,” Kaymer said. “I just take it the way it is. That is what The Open is about.”

Adam Scott, among the few players who were on the leaderboard after playing in the afternoon on Thursday, saw more of the same on Friday. Except worse.

“Today was much tougher out there, just the slight direction change and the gusts,” Scott said. “All of a sudden there were holes where I was hitting 6-iron from in the 140s (yards). That’s when you know it’s pretty windy.”

Justin Rose, who played in Scott’s group, saw the change immediately.

He has just finished his morning round and was doing media interviews when he pointed to a television monitor showing a limp flag at No. 2, and said: “When I was playing the second hole, it was howling.”

Both Scott and Rose play on the U.S.-based PGA Tour, where conditions usually become tougher for the afternoon golfers and the luck of the draw usually isn’t an issue.

The forecast for Saturday? Rain and possible thunderstorms. But at least it should be a near-level playing field for the leaders going off late in the round.

Jason Day, who shot rounds of 74 and who was in Kaymer’s group, says “you take what you can get” when it comes to the weather.

“You can come over and play social rounds and get used to the course this way, but it’s nothing like playing a tournament on links golf,” Day said. “It’s very frustrating, but there’s some luck involved. And obviously it can change in a heartbeat.”

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