Notes A Golf Balls Wild Ride Irish Tag Team

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CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- John Senden strolled toward the 18th green with a troubled look. He knew his ball should be somewhere right of the green, but he didn't see it.
 
Then some of the fans began yelling for him to look on the other side of the cup.
 
The Aussie played a version of bumper golf as he came to the end of Saturday's third round at the British Open, hitting both a metal railing and an out-of-bounds marker with one shot. He wound up taking a double bogey, but figures it could have been much worse.
 
'I guess I can't be picky,' Senden said. 'I'm lucky it wasn't an 8 or 9.'
 
His adventurous route to the flag began when he drove into a hazard, forcing him to take a penalty drop. He decided to go for the green with a 3-wood, but the ball faded out toward a grandstand along the right.
 
Senden strained to see where his shot had landed, not knowing that it clanked off a temporary barrier and shot straight left -- probably a good break for those folks staying at the hotel behind the 18th green, who might have ended up with a golf ball in their salad.
 
Instead, it shot straight across the green and was heading out of bounds, until it ricocheted off a pole that stakes off the forbidden zone in front of another set of stands. Still in play.
 
'I didn't have a clue where it was,' Senden said.
 
After two lucky bounces, he now had a chance to get up-and-down for bogey. Alas, he had used up all his good fortune, missing the putt to take a 6. But that was better than the possible alternative.
 
'If I had gone out of bounds, it would have been a long walk back to hit another shot,' he said.
 
AMATEUR HOUR
Already assured of the silver medal as low amateur, Rory McIlroy was in no mood to relax.
 
'I want to play in this next year,' McIlroy said.
 
The top 15 at the British Open are exempt for next year, and that's what the 18-year-old amateur had in mind Saturday. He started and finished just fine, but four bogeys in an eight-hole stretch in the middle of his round sent him to a 73.
 
'That is what my mind-set was, to go out and play my best golf and sort of hit a few good shots,' he said.
 
After a three-putt bogey on the 11th, McIlroy found his form with one of only five birdies at No. 12 and gave himself good looks at the 13th and 15th. He wound up at 4-over 217, leaving him tied for 45th.
 
'I'm happy enough,' McIlroy said. 'If I can go out tomorrow and shoot something in the 60s, I'll be very happy.'
 
McIlroy got into the British Open by winning the European Amateur.
 
BIRTHDAY BOY
Paul Casey was appreciative of the scoreboard operators who recognized his birthday.
 
He just wished they had left it at that.
 
Casey turned 30 on Saturday.
 
'It was nice to see it on the scoreboard,' he said. 'But they didn't have to say 30th birthday.'
 
IRISH TAG TEAM
Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley are teammates for Ireland in the World Cup, and they were on the same page Saturday at Carnoustie. Both had three birdies on the front nine, both dropped only one shot, and both shot 68.
 
And yes, both finished three rounds at 3-under 210.
 
Whether they feel they still have a chance to give Ireland its first major depends on Sergio Garcia, who was six shots ahead.
 
'Maybe the two of us could play better-ball tomorrow against Sergio,' Harrington said. 'We might catch him that way.'
 
McGinley sounded more realistic than optimistic. He has played with Garcia in the Ryder Cup, which he called the biggest stage in golf. Then again, funny things can happen at golf's oldest championship.
 
'I'm one of 10 or 15 guys who may have a chance of winning,' McGinley said. 'You never know what's going to happen.'
 
MR. CONSISTENT
Sandy Lyle, who won the British Open 22 years ago, knows he won't be getting his name on the claret jug a second time.
 
But the 49-year-old ex-champion deserves some sort of award for consistency this year.
 
For the third day in row, Lyle shot a 2-over 73 on a course that is quite a test for his aging game.
 
'I feel 73 is almost par around here,' he said. 'I'd like to have been around in 71 and perhaps make something up on the field, but I mustn't be too greedy. I'm happy to be playing.'
 
Lyle worried that he might miss the cut after making a bogey on the final hole Friday. But he got through to the weekend, which was like a victory in its own right. He has only one top-10 finish in the Open since his '85 win at Royal St. George's.
 
'It was a lot easier for me, pressure wise, to go out there and play on the weekend,' he said. 'Nothing to lose, nothing to gain. Just go out there and play for my own satisfaction. Making the cut was obviously my target.'
 
Related Links:
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