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Injured Faldo shoots 71, says goodbye at St. Andrews

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ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – An injured finger almost cost Nick Faldo one final trip around the Old Course at the Open Championship, but Mother Nature and his own children had other plans.

After injuring the middle finger on his right hand, the three-time Open champion went to the hospital early Friday when the wound re-opened.

Luckily for Faldo heavy rains early Friday made the course unplayable and officials suspended the second round for more than three hours.

“[His family] were all looking at me saying, ‘What are we doing?’ I said, ‘I don't know,’” said Faldo, who returned from the hospital at 12:15 p.m., less than 45 minutes before he was due to tee off. “Now we're in panic station. They said, ‘I think you should go.’ When your kids say you're going, you're going, aren't you?”

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Faldo said his finger felt better as the round progressed and he closed with a 1-under 71, a dozen strokes better than his opening 83. The Englishman’s round was highlighted by a birdie at the 17th hole that prompted a large cheer from the gallery.

“Well, 17 made it for me, didn't it? That was special,” he said. “That relaxed me at the last because I said I don't care what I do up 18 now because I've just made 3 at 17. That's unbelievable.”

Faldo also took his moment on the Swilcan Bridge, donning a Pringle sweater similar to the one he wore when he won the 1987 Open at Muirfield.

“That was the goal of the week. The goal was to stand on the bridge and get the picture,” he said.

Faldo, who turns 58 on Saturday, said it is becoming increasingly difficult to compete with the demands of his duties as a Golf Channel analyst and when he was asked how many more Opens he planned to play he was noncommittal.

“If I'm sensible, that is it,” he said.