Date: July 18, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes @ St Andrews

Rummy defies all the odds

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Brett Rumford is nothing if not meticulous.

So to see him slink on to a bench exhausted for a post-round chat today demonstrated clearly just how much he’d put into one of the most stellar performances in his glittering career.

Against all odds, the Perth veteran will play on this Open weekend after consecutive rounds of 71.

The two-under tally is far from his slashing best, but that he’s playing in pain and near exhaustion after serious surgery makes it just as remarkable.

Rumford had more than 30cm of intestine removed in emergency surgery in March and, by his own admission, came back “far too early” to play the BMW Championship and Irish Open in May.

But the Open Championship will likely be his last tournament for quite a while as he’s clearly fighting lethargy and pain just to play at the Old Course.

“It was a fight – a real battle,” he said after clinging to a buffer he’d established before fatigue kicked in around the 13th hole.

“Those conditions were tough – and I just got tired coming home.

“It was all right because I had enough shots up my sleeve.

“I played through until 9.30 last night – didn’t get to bed until just before midnight and then again walk off tonight at 7.30.

“They’re a couple of really testing days in those conditions as well, walking around an exposed links.

“It’s everything I don’t need, really. Everything,” he said with a wry grin.

“But everything I expected, as well,” with the steely glint that’s taken him to five wins on the tough European Tour.

“I’m happy, I’m thrilled to bits with my effort in particular.

“Just to come out here without expectations and make the cut with some fairly solid golf, I’m really happy.

“Technically my game hasn’t been too far away. But with things, I haven’t been able to get the repetitions I’d have liked coming into this.

“Then I’d like to add a bit of stamina to the mix because it’s just a lazy, lazy tired, golf swing coming home.

“I can feel it – and then it becomes a concentration thing, too.

“Even on 18, I knocked it down to have an easy chip shot up the green and then I nearly missed the clubhead with my second and you’re holing 8-footers for pars.

“I’m just not sharp enough.”

Rumford, playing competitively with a short putter for the first time in years, said his best defence against lethargy was planned and regular eating patterns around the course.

“I had a plan to eat at the right checkpoints. I hit all those, got all my meals and kept the hydration up.

“I don’t think you’d come off this golf course fresh as a daisy if you were 100 per cent fit, so I just can’t maintain some sort of strength in my swing.”

Rumford hit some “amazing golf shots” in the first dozen holes as he charged to four under par and briefly on the verge of the top 10.

“Then the errors began coming in as I tired. It’s hard because you can feel it happening and you can’t really stop it.

“You have to be engaged and concentrated on every single shot and when that happens, your thoughts start straying a little and that adds to it.”

The 37-year-old had surgery after having a blockage in his small intestine caused by eating apples during a tournament in South Africa in March.

He spent almost three weeks in hospital before returning home and continues to rehabilitate away from this tournament.

A hot bath with rejuvenating salts was the key for Rumford to get back to the course today and he says a repeat dose will be on the cards before the third round tomorrow.

“It’s really a good remedy for feeling tired. I just hope I can hang on a bit longer physically than 13 holes tomorrow.

“I’ll do the best I can, that’s for sure.”

Of that, there’s little doubt.