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81° Good Afternoon

Oosthuizen brilliant again as Rory fades, Tiger hangs on

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland - This was the British Open so many expected, a tournament at the mercy of nature with wind so strong that play had to be suspended for more than an hour.

This was the British Open no one expected, a young South African dominating after two incredible rounds.

What a Friday along the North Sea, when calm became calamitous, when Rory McIlroy was 17 shots worse than he had been Thursday; when Tiger Woods tumbled down, if not quite out; and when Louis Oosthuizen beat both the weather and everyone else in the field for the first two rounds of this 139th Open.

When in early afternoon the wind gusted up to 41 mph, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which runs the Open, said balls were being moved on the greens and it "had no option but to suspend play.''

Which it did for 65 minutes, turning golf into a long day's journey into night, which in Scotland in July doesn't arrive with total darkness until past 10:30 p.m. Late starters were out there for more than seven hours, and not everyone finished.

Oosthuizen went out at 6:41 a.m. So although he endured some rain and a lighter wind, he was long finished when the nasty gusts moved in, posting a 5-under-par 67. He had a 36-hole score of 12-under 132 and a five-shot lead over Mark Calcavecchia.

"I like playing in the wind,'' said Oosthuizen, 27, whose given names, after his grandfather, are Lodewicus Theodorus. He won't answer to either, however, always being known as Louis - or to his friends as "Shrek.''

In second place at 70-67-137 is Calcavecchia, 50, the Open winner in 1989. He was in the first threesome at 6:30 a.m., and if, like Oosthuizen, that meant arising at about 4 a.m., it also meant getting around the Old Course before being figuratively blown away.

That's what happened to McIlroy, who tied the course record of 63 Thursday and didn't make a bogey. On Friday, he shot 40-40-80, not making a birdie, and dropped from first to a tie for 38th.

"It could have been 82 or 82,'' McIlroy said. "I've never experienced shooting 63 and then going and shooting 80.''

Tiger Woods, with a birdie at 18, shot 73 for 140. The final putt dropped a bit before 10 p.m. After Tom Watson birdied 18 to finish at 75 for 148, the horn was blown to halt play, leaving 30 golfers to return Saturday.

"It was a tough day. For everybody,'' Woods said. "You just have to go out there and deal with it, whether you're on the good end of the draw or not the good end . . . I'm not exactly where I want to be, but after my start [he began bogey, bogey], I could have shot myself out of it.''

The projected cut was 145, and names such as Watson, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Geoff Ogilvy were among those above that score.

Oosthuizen won the Par-3 Contest at the Masters this year - then missed the cut in the regular event for a third straight time - but he won the Andalucia Open on the European Tour and said that changed his outlook, building his confidence.

The son of a farmer, Oosthuizen said he would not have been able to afford golf lessons as a child were it not for the foundation created by countryman Els to help young South Africans.


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