(New at 9:35 a.m. 7-17) TURNBERRY, Scotland (AP) — Steve Marino can thank his dad for making sure he got
to the British Open.
Marino, a 29-year-old American who scuffled to qualify for the PGA Tour, looked right at home at
Turnberry with a 2-under 68 Friday — an impressive score in windy conditions that put some bite in the
He was the clubhouse leader, tied at 5 under with two other players still out on the course, Japan’s
Kenichi Kuboya and American Steve Stricker. Five-time champion Tom Watson was another stroke back after
two early bogeys — he didn’t make any on Thursday.
This was a day for limiting the damage. First-round contenders Ben Curtis and Miguel Angel Jimenez
tumbled down the leaderboard when the gusts whipping off the Firth of Clyde sent scores soaring.
Tiger Woods had a late tee time, while two-time defending champion Padraig Harrington plodded to a 74
that left him with a lot of work to do in his quest to keep the claret jug for a third straight year. He
was at 3-over 143.
Marino got in as an alternate, though he was forced to scramble when it became apparent he might be able
to play in golf’s oldest major for the first time.
"I didn’t have a passport," he said. "I had to fly my dad down to Florida so he could get
my passport and FedEx it to me. … I wasn’t even expecting to play in this tournament."
His father dashed down to the sunshine state from his home in Virginia, sent along the passport to his
son playing in the John Deere Classic and flew back — all in the same day. When Shingo Katayama withdrew
from the Open last weekend because of an injury, Marino got the spot.
Though he had never played on a true links course, Marino felt his game was suited to a style of golf
that requires imagination and keeping the ball low.
"I would consider myself a feel player," he said. "I kind of see shots before I hit them.
I don’t really hit the same shot every time. Over here, you kind of have to be that way a little bit and
hit some low shots and some high shots and bounce them in there and use the slopes. I’ve really been
enjoying the golf over here, for sure."
On a day when low numbers were hard to come by — just ask Curtis, the 2003 Open champion who soared from
an opening 65 to 80 — Marino pulled off one improbable shot after another for a 135 through two rounds.
He holed out a sand wedge from 116 yards at No. 3, and did the same with a bunker shot at the sixth for
another birdie. There also was a 30-footer for birdie at No. 5, not to mention a 20-footer for eagle at
"It was probably one of the best scoring rounds I’ve ever had," Marino said. "There were
points in the round where I felt I was one-putting every hole. I really don’t think I could have shot
one stroke less today, to be honest with you."
Hey, someone deserved to have a little good fortune.
The pristine conditions on Thursday — partly sunny with barely a hint of breeze — gave way to thick, gray
clouds, occasional sprinkles and strong gusts that are counted on to keep the players from taking target
practice at the seaside course.
With the wind barely rippling the flags during the opening round, Jimenez shot a 64 — just one stroke off
the major championship record — while Kuboya, Curtis and the 59-year-old Watson posted 65s. In all, 50
players broke par and another 17 were even.
That wasn’t the case on Friday.
"We were hitting 3-woods into the wind from 210 yards," moaned Mike Weir, who followed 67 with
Curtis’ day started promisingly enough — a birdie at No. 1, a short par 4 with the wind at his back — but
things quickly went south when he turned back into the teeth of the breeze. He bogeyed six of the next
seven holes before a double bogey at No. 9 sent him around the turn with a 42. It didn’t get much better
from there, with two more bogeys and another double before straggled home with an 80 — 15 strokes higher
than the previous day.
"I just hit it bad," Curtis said. "I got lucky yesterday with the weather. That helped me
keep it in play. Today was different."
But it looked as though the afternoon starters — Watson and Woods among them — could benefit from the
luck of the draw. The sun began to peak through the clouds, and the breeze appeared to be easing up just
"It looks like it’s clearing up," Weir said, glancing toward the sky behind the 18th hole.
"It might be a nice break for those guys."
Jimenez, the ponytailed, cigar-smoking Spaniard, spent most of the day just hanging on. He struggled to a
73 but was still solidly in contention at 137 — two strokes off the lead.
Jimenez opened with a par, then started spraying the ball into the tall grass lining the fairways. He
bogeyed the next three holes, and lost another stroke at No. 6 after driving up against the face of a
greenside bunker. He tried to strike the ball with his left knee planted on the grass, but barely made
contact and had to take another whack to get it out.
There were a few good scores on the board, however.
Australian Daniel Gaunt had the best score among the early finishers with a 67 — nine strokes better than
his opening 76. England’s Ross Fisher matched Marino with a 68.
"It suited me to have tough conditions," said Gaunt, a 30-year-old journeyman ranked 1,212th in
the world but in position to make the cut with a 143. "I had nothing to lose after being 6 over
yesterday. I’m delighted with that round."
Woods failed to take advantage of Thursday’s conditions, struggling to a 71 that he knew should have been
so much better. Heck, the world’s No. 1 player had as many thrown clubs as birdies (three each) and
headed straight to the practice range to work on his swing.
While Jimenez claimed the Thursday lead with a 66-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole, Watson was the star
of the opening day. He rolled in five birdies and was at the top of the leaderboard for most of the
"There’s certain shots on the golf course that I remember how to play," Watson said.