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Els expects tough Turnberry test

Ernie Els
Ernie Els will look to play it safe

Ernie Els has predicted a brute of a test at Turnberry when it hosts the Open next week.

The dramatic Ayrshire course hosts the 138th Open Championship after a 15-year break and Els said a good game plan would be needed to tame the links.

Former Open winner Els said: "I was there for two days and that could be quite a beast if the wind comes up."

Colin Montgomerie, who has an academy at Turnberry, said the rough was to be avoided "at all costs".

"They had a medal there for the members - 150 starters - and they left 480 balls on the course," said Montgomerie. "That's over three a player and it proves that, although the fairways were generous, avoid the rough at all costs."


"It's a shot-maker's golf course, a tremendous course," he added. "I didn't lose a ball, which was good, but it can only be worse now than when I played 10 days ago."

South African Els, who put in a poor performance at the recent weather hit US Open, added: "They must have had a lot of rain - it's very lush, very green and that's why the rough is so high.

"You're probably going to have to have a good game plan, probably play quite safe off the tees to get it in play.

"The secret to playing good links golf is having a good strategy, sticking with that and having a lot of patience. But, more than anything, really striking the ball solidly.

"If you don't you'll get found out. You won't have much of a chance," added the 2002 Open winner

Ulsterman Graeme McDowell, defending champion at the Scottish Open this week and first round leader both at Birkdale last year and Hoylake in 2006, said the links rough were some of the heaviest he had seen.

"If you miss it in the wrong place you might want to bring a couple of golf balls with you," he said. "I certainly lost a couple. Right of the 17th green I've never seen rough as thick in all my life."

Turnberry has hosted three previous Opens, the most famous being the 1977 Duel in the Sun between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.

Watson, Greg Norman in 1986 and Nick Price in 1994 are previous Open winners on the challenging Scottish course.

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see also
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01 Jul 11 |  Golf
McDowell set for Loch Lomond test
08 Jul 09 |  Golf
Faldo to play Open at Turnberry
18 May 09 |  Golf
Baker qualifies to play Turnberry
07 Jul 09 |  Golf
Sale agreed for Turnberry resort
21 May 08 |  Glasgow and West
Turnberry hosts The Open in 2009
01 Dec 05 |  Golf

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