ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND // Paul Casey is still hoping for major success tomorrow despite becoming another victim of the Road Hole 17th at St Andrews. Casey goes into the weekend on six-under par after a second successive 69, but seven of those strokes came at the venue's most terrifying stretch of land. After reaching the turn for a superb 31 and climbing to third place, he drove into rough so bad that he did not move the ball with his attempted hack out.
The next was just a chop back on to the fairway and after coming up short of the green with his fourth shot he three-putted. "There's got to be some penalty for going left - that's what this golf course has always been about," said Casey, 32. "But that's the thickest rough on the golf course and I would just like it thinned out. "It wasn't a great tee shot and when I got down there I was just trying to go sideways. There was no way of going forward.
"I wanted to go straight sideways, but couldn't go at it too hard because if it came out I could end up in Room 312." The Old Course Hotel lines the right side of the hole. "So the club just went straight underneath it and from there it was a pretty easy seven. "To be honest, I'm not even that frustrated with what happened on 17. If you had told me I'd be in the clubhouse on six under I would have bitten your arm off, especially with the conditions we were warming up in this morning."
His repair job following his triple bogey began straightaway with a massive drive down the 18th, which the Englishman admitted had "a little bit of anger in there", and two putts from long range for birdie. Casey was suffering from a sore throat just before the event, but is able to communicate fully with Christian Donald, his caddie - Luke's brother - again. "The throat is croaky, but it's working," he said. "I felt very rough on Wednesday night and maybe it was a good thing that I was off late yesterday. It gave me a bit more time, but Christian doesn't like the fact that my voice has come back."
As for his position, Casey added: "I read the Tom Watson quote about whatever [the course] gave away today she'll take back tomorrow. I believe that with links golf, so it's about hanging around. "I'd be very impressed if Louis [Oosthuizen] and Rory [McIlroy] keep popping in scores like they have. And, if they do, good luck to them." * PA