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Page last updated at 11:18 GMT, Saturday, 17 July 2010 12:18 UK

The Open 2010: Khan feels at home at St Andrews

The Open Championship, St Andrews, 15-18 July
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Red Button, BBC Sport website, with updates on BBC Radio 5 live Full coverage details

By Ged Scott
BBC Sport at St Andrews

Simon Khan
Khan gets some shelter from his caddy as he lines up a putt during his fine second round

Simon Khan has always had a special affinity with St Andrews since, as a 12-year-old, he watched the great Seve Ballesteros win The Open here in 1984.

But, two months since he enjoyed his biggest career victory at Wentworth, the Essex golfer was just as happy simply to have made the halfway cut here.

After opening with a two-over 74, 38-year-old Khan recovered with an excellent 69 on the second morning.

And he ultimately made it through comfortably on one under, tied for 38th.

When he finished his round around lunchtime, Khan was actually tied for 77th place, expecting to miss the cut.

But, when play was finally suspended at 2145 BST, such was the severity of the Fife wind on the field, that he had moved more than 40 places up the field.

"I was desperate to still be here at the weekend," Khan told BBC Sport.

"I've always loved this place since watching Seve win here in 1984.

"It's almost got its own personality and, when the wind switches, it makes it even more fantastic.

"I've only played in The Open five times and I've been lucky that three of them have been here.

"When I came here and played in 2000, and in 2005, I stood on the first tee facing what is supposedly the easiest shot in golf, but I've honestly never felt more nervous in my life.

"That tells you what a special place it is.

"I love the way the course goes out and comes back to the town. That's how golf courses should be but some clubs make the mistake of putting their first tee miles away from the clubhouse.

"It should be about starting right in front of the clubhouse, then coming back to it, just like it is here. It might made more it daunting for the 24-handicappers, but that's all part of the charm."

There were some pretty nasty showers for the first few holes. But the wind was actually helping on the way out

Simon Khan

Epping-born Khan, who now lives in Chingford, was quick to admit that his love, and previous experience, of the place really helped in Friday's second round.

After starting the day on two over, he did his best work on the front nine, picking up birdies at 2, 5 and 7 to go out in 33 before coming back in level par, thanks to last-hole birdie to cancel out his one dropped shot, a six at the long 14th, finishing one under for the championship.

"The experience of playing here a lot certainly helped today," said Khan, now in his 20th year as a golf pro.

"You have to keep in mind that they used to play this course backwards and that, when you're playing it, anything above the hole is good.

"And I have to admit that we got a bit of break with the weather.

"There were some pretty nasty showers for the first few holes. But the wind was actually helping on the way out. It was still not very nice out there, but you could still shoot a score.

"Then, coming back, it was going into the wind, which was getting progressively stronger. That made it hard work and I felt I needed that birdie at least at the last."

That final hole birdie was more than enough for Khan, still basking in the glory (and the £700,000 pay cheque) from his out-of-the-blue victory at the PGA championship at Wentworth in May.

But Khan, who headed straight for the practice range in disappointment after his first round 74 on Thursday, knows he still has some work to do.

"I was just looking to take my game from Wentworth into this week," he said. "And, going by Thursday's scores, my score shouldn't have made it but it just got tougher and tougher out there."

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see also
Oosthuizen leads at wind-hit Open
16 Jul 10 |  Golf
Oosthuizen tops Open leaderboard
16 Jul 10 |  Golf
McIlroy deflated after Open slump
16 Jul 10 |  Golf
The Open day two photos
16 Jul 10 |  Golf
Woods surprised by Open scoring
15 Jul 10 |  Golf
Khan wary of St Andrews weather
14 Jul 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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