Date: July 19, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Fine line between pleasure and pain

The agony and the ecstasy of golf are close neighbours.

Scott Arnold was overjoyed by his four-birdie salvo on the back nine today that made him the 11th of 15 Aussies who began The Open to reach the weekend action.

But in the following group, Adam Bland felt the agony of a controversial, windswept day and a few blown chances as his Open dream was derailed, at least temporarily.

Both men were three over the card early in the back nine and knowing birdies were needed to get to the even-par cut.

And Arnold duly delivered with four consecutive birdies from 12-15 that he described as “one of his best golfing performances”.

“Under the circumstances, your first major playing (at St Andrews) and sort of being nowhere … and then coming down needing to make a few putts, hitting a few good shots,” the Sydneysider said.

“I thought I could give myself a few chances, and I did, and took my opportunity to make them.

“I can't really put into words how good I feel at the moment.”

Bland was the polar opposite – deflated and dejected after a double-bogey on the infamous Road Hole finally put paid to his chances with a 73 consigning him to a five-over total.

The South Australian was among those cruelled by savage winds before play was suspended for more than 10 hours, saying it had cost him shots and momentum.

“It was frustrating with the way it started this morning with bad conditions on those first couple of holes and me three-putting these holes didn’t really help,” he said.

The ball was just oscillating all the time. It was stupid, we shouldn’t have been out there playing.

“I was playing great, I hit some good shots into those holes as well but when you need to shoot a few under par and then you go straight out there on the first few holes and do two three-putts, (both) makeable birdie putts, it’s just frustrating.”

Bland still rated himself a chance after a birdie at the 14th put him back in range of the cut line, but a bogey on the 15th stopped him in his tracks.

“I’ve come a long way but I just need to work on my putting and get it where it needs to be to compete with these guys,” said Bland after his second major came to an end.

“They just convert … they just keep rolling them in.

“I’m just disappointed because I didn’t come here to scrape through the cut. I came here to compete.

“It’s disappointing, but it does fire me up to keep going and get here again – hopefully sooner, rather than later.”

Perth’s Greg Chalmers played some impressive golf to join Matt Jones in a tie for 25th at three under the card.

Sitting idle in the wind on the backed-up 11th tee behind Brooks Koepka’s dramatics ahead, the left-hander considered himself fortunate to dodge the weather drama.

“I had a hunch things were going to be pretty biblical weatherwise, but I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to hit a shot,” he said.

“I had a tense one-foot putt on 11 and I knew that if it got blown off line I’d have an 8-footer back. But after that I settled down and played pretty well.

“When I start putting better as I have here, I’m half a chance.”

The West Australian was one of just four of the 42 players on course today not to record a bogey on the back nine, highlighting his form.

His good mate John Senden resumed with a critical four-foot par putt on the 11th after the wind delay and calmly slotted it before another birdie on the 12th put him back to square with the card.

But a bogey on the 13th threw him outside the cut line and he ended up happy with a birdie on the 14th and four quality closing pars to book his weekend tee times.

“It was a good fight coming back. I was one over par thinking it was going to be howling all the way down the stretch and I played well,” the big Queenslander said after his second consecutive 72.

“I’m happy to be where I am. With benign conditions (tomorrow) morning, it’s going to be a bit of a putting comp … so I think with softer conditions, there could be some low scores (in the final rounds) and I’ve just got to get a couple of them.”