Another tough day of Links Golf for the players today, with strong winds and dark conditions. Despite this, the three golf courses continued to provide scintillating action. The first two days have proved that the viewing the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is like no other golf tournament. Spectators are able to watch the world’s best play incredibly high quality golf. Moreover, they are able to view familiar celebrity faces with alternative swings battle the courses just as the rest of us would. With manageable crowds, and relaxed players, there is an intimacy that wouldn’t occur anywhere else.
Ross Fisher is the overnight leader with a one shot lead following a very steady 4 under par round in tough conditions. I was able to follow Fisher’s progress on the Old Course this morning and from my viewing, I was slightly bemused that he was the tournament leader. Fisher drove the short Par 4 10th only to three putt to make his par which, unfortunately, is something I can very much relate to personally. Fisher would then drop another shot on the infamous par 3 eleven. Nonetheless, after leaving the group to travel to Kingsbarns, Fisher would rally, hitting one of the shots of the tournament, tearing an iron through the wind into the par 4 16th, with the ball finishing up half an inch from the hole. In his press conference after the round Fisher stated that: ‘‘Coming around here, St Andrews, you know the greens are going to be a little bit slower. I felt like I played really well front side. Played solidly. To shoot 4-under and get to 11 (under), I’m obviously very, very pleased.’’ Fisher will play the hardest of the three golf courses tomorrow as he heads to Carnoustie.
Over at Kingsbarns, the course was looking spectacular as ever, despite the dull grey light. With the television coverage being based here, there was a buzz around the course. Brian O’Driscoll, the former Irish international rugby player, would have fooled many into thinking his was a European Tour professional this afternoon. O’Driscoll took on the wind on the treacherous 15th, a par 3 over the water front, shaping the ball to 4 feet and holing the putt for birdie. By contrast, his professional playing partner Alvaro Quiros, albeit from a different tee, was only able to bail out left struggling to make par. O’Driscoll moved onto the 16th tee filled with confidence, crushing the ball off the tee. I was lucky to be walking next to a member of the Kingsbarns Caddie team at the time who stated that in all his time at the course, he had never seen an amateur hit the ball close to his drive. O’Driscoll was left with a pitching wedge into the Par 5 and hit the middle of the green. Whilst he left his eagle putt a fraction short, it was him, rather than his playing partner Jamie Dornan, that was bringing flocks of supporters from around the course.
The television coverage now moves to St Andrews for the weekend with all the famous faces playing the Old Courses. Seen as the easiest course, we should see some low scores and is certainly not to be missed. The round will also be followed by a fireworks show at 8.25pm, adjacent to the Old Course and will be a fantastic spectacle for players and spectators to view.