Open starts under cool, calm conditions

Paul Lawrie hits the opening tee shot of the 2010 British Open.


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ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – And they’re off and running in the 139th Open Championship.

Paul Lawrie hit the opening tee shot at 6:30 a.m. Best of all, he did it without waterproofs, without having to huddle under an umbrella before or after.

Considering the deluge that hit the Old Course in the wee hours of Thursday morning, getting play underway was something of a result.

Greens were under water as rain swept across the Old Course about 2:00 a.m. Just as well, The Open is played on traditional links courses. The Old Course is nothing but sand underneath, and water drains through the grass almost as fast as it falls.

When Lawrie teed off in the company of Frenchman Thomas Levet and Steve Marino of the U.S., it was drab and grey, with little wind. Yet there were no standing puddles, no surface water.

If the small gathering of fans out to watch the 150th anniversary of the game’s oldest championship get underway were hoping for the heavens to stay closed, then they were disappointed. The rain started about an hour after Lawrie teed off and is set to hang around the Old Course for much of the day.

In fact, it’s supposed to be heavy until mid-afternoon when it will ease off to light rain and then “sunny intervals,” another great British weather expression that gives those who forecast the elements suitable leeway.

For the record, Lawrie hit a hybrid club down the left center of the fairway and made par. Levet and Marino also got their pars, too.

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