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July 17, 2011

On the range, players fight the wind and prepare for tough Sunday conditions

OpenFlag_350x250 SANDWICH, England – With flags crackling and divots rolling across the practice area like tumbleweeds, Y.E. Yang pelted one 6-iron after another. Instead of rising majestically, each shot seemed to be pressed down and to the right by a giant invisible hand that kept them short of the 150-yard marker.
 
The forecast calls for 35-mile-per-hour gusts today, and the winds on the range felt at least that strong this afternoon as players prepared for what promised to be another challenging day at the 2011 Open Championship.
 
Thirty feet to Yang's right, Tom Watson, a five-time Open winner, was hitting a series of shots with his driver. Low and piercing, it was clear that Watson was trying to keep the ball below the gusts.
 
If the wind and the pending challenge were weighing on Watson's mind, he didn't show it. Stopping his warm up, he called to a nearby BBC cameraman, "Hey, I've got question for you? How do you keep that camera lens from getting so wet?" The two men then chatted for about five minutes before Watson went back to work.
 
After hitting a series of 15-yard chip shots into the wind and then with the wind, Watson left to a loud ovation.
 
The only player whose shots seemed to defy the left-to-right gale was Adam Scott. One after another, his wedge and short-iron shots sailed into the air and held their line, going straight at his targets. But the Australian's spell was broken once he started hitting his longer irons, which peeled to the right like everyone else's.
 
"Rebel weather," he said to Chad Campbell, who like Scott played college golf at UNLV. "It's a rebel day."\

(Photo by Andrew Reddington/Getty Images)

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