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‘It’s just a joke’

'It's just a joke' thumbnail
Lewis Mason

Matt Fitzpatrick was left fuming after his first round at the Open Championship took longer than six hours.

After teeing off with Tiger Woods at 2: 59pm, Fitzpatrick went on to card a level-par 72, but the light was fading as they eventually left the course at 9: 07pm.

Fitzpatrick said: “It’s just a joke, isn’t it? Like six hours, 10, this just shouldn’t be happening ever in golf.”

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Analysing the issue, the US Open champion said: “It’s the way the golf course is set up. It’s how firm it is. The way the golf course is designed. You’re crossing over a lot, and to get better angles and better lines, you’ve got to hit across all the fairways. There’s nothing you can do unfortunately about it. It’s just sad more than anything. It’s just ridiculous.”

The heatwave has impacted conditions at St Andrews, making it rock hard, with matters not being helped by the tricky pin placement for the first round.

You’ve just got to be prepared for it.

“You’ve got to accept that it’s going to be long rounds. But, yeah, it’s just disappointing it takes six hours to get around the golf course. That just shouldn’t be happening,” he said.

American Cameron Young has a two-shot lead going into day two on the Old Course, with Rory McIlroy his nearest challenger.

Speaking about the pace of the game, McIlroy said: “It’s quite stop-start, but I think St Andrews is that way.”

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“There’s a lot of crisscrossing and waiting on other greens and waiting on greens to clear because the drivable par-4s. So I think, especially the first two days when it’s the full field, it’s to be expected. It is what it is.”

McIlroy is expecting an improvement as the tournament progresses, saying, “Thankfully it speeds up over the weekend and two balls, and it gets moving a little bit more. But I think playing this tournament, you expect it to be that way the first couple of days.”

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