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Players predict winning score above par

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SANDWICH, England – There is your normal, pre-tournament hyperbole – like Graeme McDowell’s assessment that the winning score at last month’s U.S. Open would be over par – and then there is Tuesday’s take on Royal St. George’s, a dry, hard layout following weeks of drought made nearly unplayable by wind gusts that whipped to 20 mph.

As the group of Hunter Mahan, Sean O’Hair, Steve Marino and Spencer Levin finished their practice rounds, swing coach Sean Foley was asked how the day went?

“Great. It was fun. They were probably a combined 30 over par,” he laughed.

Foley wasn’t joking. According to Levin the group made just one birdie apiece the entire round, at the downwind, par-5 14th hole, and “we might have hit 10 greens as a group,” figured Levin.

Marino predicted the winning score would be around 9 over par if the winds persisted, although the forecast called for slightly calmer conditions heading into the weekend.

“You could play bad and shoot the same score that you would if you played good,” Levin figured, before Marino added, “Or you could play really bad and shoot 100.”