The Open: Furyk looks forward to sunshine on links

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JIM FURYK appreciates this Open just might be different. The former US Open champion has been a regular challenger on these shores in pursuit of the Claret Jug – 17 in a row during which he has had four top-five finishes – and at times he has experienced the full force of the British “summer”.

With the forecast set fair for the week ahead Furyk is hoping that might be the catalyst for a charge that would see his consistent patronage rewarded.

“I can’t wait for an Open where the sun is shining all week. I haven’t seen one for a while,” he smiled at the conclusion of a practice round in the company of Justin Leonard.

When the Open was last held at Muirfield 11 years ago, Furyk shot rounds of 71 and 76 and was on an early flight home.

He acknowledges that links golf sets different challenges but putting in the hard yards has never been a chore. “I’ve had an average year and have got to do some work as far as getting ready for links golf is concerned. It would mean a lot to win here because of the tradition of the game and on one of the finer (Open) courses.”

Furyk has certainly seen all of them on the circuit and if he were to succeed it would strike a blow for the over-40 brigade. Of the genuine contenders these include Lee Westwood, new Scottish Open champion Phil Mickelson, also 43, and Paul Lawrie with whom he is paired at 1.34pm on Thursday. Dane Thorbjorn Oleson completes the triumvirate.