ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Today was a special day. My professional partner, Mikko Ilonen, carded the lowest round of his season, a 64 at St Andrews, which included a double bogey on No. 2 after he leaked his drive right and over the out-of-bounds fence. His round equaled the course record set by Bradley Dredge in 2006. There have been 62s in the past but they were shot prior to a few tweaks on the course. It was a pleasure to watch. I managed to help out on three holes, making a birdie on our first hole of the day, the 10th, another at the third and a bogey on the hole Mikko doubled, my drive was only an inch or two inside the fence.
After two rounds, our team total is 15-under, which is alright. But we’ll need to continue the trend in order for me to have a chance of playing with Mikko at St. Andrews on Sunday. We’ve managed to continue not using my shot holes. Today, my two shots came at par 5’s. I made par on both holes, against Mikko’s birdie-eagle, so our 15-under total is actually a gross score, 68-61, and in my view, is a decent knock.
Teeing off the 10th was actually an advantage, because once you get through the tough stretch of 14-17, it's all plain sailing home.
The most famous two holes have to be Nos.17 and 18. Many of you know the drive at the 17th and I dare say some of you will have been lucky enough to play the Road Hole. The drive is very odd. Colin the caddie was back on my bag, and he says the “O” in 'Course' [Old Course] is a good line with driver, but three-wood is a better club for me. So “O” in 'Old' [Old Course] is the line. The amateur’s tee is forward of the pros and thereby closer to the sheds. The “I hope I don’t catch this out the bottom and nail it right into the “O” instead of over it” thought goes through your brain a few times. Lucky, I nailed it right over the mark and hit two iron to the front edge, safely avoiding bunker and road. However, as Colin showed me, others have not been so lucky.
Almost directly above the tee there are two huge ballmarks in the frame of one of the third floor windows. Goodness knows what happened there, it would actually take some effort to hit that bad of a shot, have a look during our coverage and see whether you can spot the windows.
Colin’s history lesson continued down the 18th when he pointed out the building in which Old Tom Morris fell down the stairs to the cellar, broke his neck and ultimately lost his life. Colin is adamant that Old Tom had merely a whiskey and half a pint of beer before that fateful mishap, although I have no idea how he's so certain of this.
Tomorrow we finish the three course rotation with Kingsbarns. My Carnoustie weather source was correct about today, it was actually decent with light winds and only a few drops of rain. Sadly, the forecast for tomorrow is dismal. The BBC weather woman said, 70mph gusts. And as I look out of my hotel room window, the flags are beginning to blow and we still have over 12 hours before we play, so maybe she’s right. They better batten down the hatches because when the wind starts blowing out here, there is nowhere to hide.
Watch full coverage of the Alfred Dunhill Links on Golf Channel Saturday at 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET.
Dunhill Diary, Part 4: First round at Carnoustie
Dunhill Diary, Part 3: Practice at the Old Course
Dunhill Diary, Part 2: Dry clothes and Draw Party
Dunhill Diary, Part 1: Big Stars ... and Me