The disappointment for Paul Casey was not a 41 on the back nine Thursday that took him from the first page of the leaderboard at the British Open to his ninth consecutive round over par. It was not getting a chance to emulate Seve Ballesteros.
Casey, trying to rebuild his confidence after recovering from a shoulder injury, was at 2-under par for the opening round when he hit his tee shot so far right on the 15th hole at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that it went into an area of concession stands and corporate tents marked out-of-bounds.
That part of the course was used in 1979 as an overflow parking lot which Ballesteros made famous. The Spaniard drove into that spot from the 16th tee in the final round, received a free drop from near a car and made birdie on his way to winning.
“I just think Seve would have loved to have been given the opportunity to play from the tented village,” Casey said.
Casey wasn’t aware that area was out-of-bounds — he’s not a big fan of OB in the middle of the golf course instead of the boundaries — when he found himself walking amid hamburger, pie and ice cream vendors.
“I would have loved to have carved one around to the green, but I wasn’t allowed to, so that was a little disappointment there,” he said. But it wasn’t a very good shot, so it is what it is.”
Casey went back to the tee and did well to make double bogey.
HE OWES HIM ONE
Ben Crane’s loss was Michael Thompson’s gain.
Crane and Thompson were at the John Deere Classic on Sunday, a charter waiting to take them to the British Open as alternates. Crane, with a history of back trouble, would have needed two players to withdraw to get in. He went back to Oregon to join his family and monitor the situation, while the 27-year-old Thompson and his wife came over to England.
Robert Karlsson withdrew Wednesday afternoon in surprising fashion, saying his game wasn’t ready for a major. By then, it was too late for Crane to get to England early enough to be in position. Thursday morning, British Senior Open champion Russ Cochran withdrew with a sore back.
Thompson, a runner-up in the U.S. Open at Olympic Club, took his spot. He played 27 holes at Royal Lytham over two days of practice, so he knew what to expect.
He was hanging in there at 1 over through 13 holes until a bogey on the 13th and a double bogey on the 14th. He finished at 74.
After his round, he sent Crane a message via Twitter.
“Thanks for giving me the opportunity to play in my first @The Open. Sorry I couldn’t take advantage today. I owe you a beer!”
BOHN EARLY LEADER
Jason Bohn shot an 8-under 64 to take an early lead at the PGA Tour’s True South Classic in Madison, Miss., before heavy rain halted play in the afternoon.
Luke Guthrie, a 22-year-old in just his third professional tournament, opened with a 65. He finished last week’s John Deere Classic tied for fifth.
J.J. Killeen, Steve Lowery, Ryuji Imada, Jason Gore and Willie Wood share a tie for third, two shots behind Bohn.