DUBLIN, Ohio – Thomas Aiken of South Africa is making his debut in the Memorial Tournament. If he keeps talking like he was after his first-round 67 he probably will find himself in a few more.
“The golf course is in unbelievable condition. I’ve never played golf at a place like this,” Aiken said, heaping praise on Muirfield Village GC. The fact that it’s the pride and joy of one Jack Nicklaus makes it a pretty sensible thing for Aiken to say.
Of course, it’s quite true, too, because if you can find a blade of grass out of place at Muirfield, you’re doing better than most. “The best conditioned course we play all year, no question,” said one veteran caddie.
It’s a tribute to the folks at Muirfield that a player can go out in the first group of the day (Luke Donald, at 7:30) and take 20 putts en route to a 64 and another can go out in the last group of the day (Aiken, 1:49) and use the putter just 24 times to get into a tie for second.
As for Aiken, who is tied with three others three shots behind Donald, he may find this part of Ohio to his liking if all goes well the next few days. After this tournament, the South African will stick around for a 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier at two nearby courses, The Lakes and Brookside.