Driving proves key for Dyson but Finch flounders

Simon Dyson believes that patience will be a virtue this weekend in his quest to launch another sustained assault on the Open Championship.

The Yorkshireman – the highest placed Englishman at last year’s Open when he finished ninth – played himself back into the championship yesterday with a round of 67.

It turned a potentially nerve-jangling battle against the cut into a comfortable passage to the weekend.

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And although Brandt Snedeker was setting a fast pace at the top of the leaderboard just a few holes behind him, Dyson knows the blond Tennesseean could come a cropper if the wind picks up over the next two days.

To that end, the 34-year-old world No 48 from Malton will continue to use his links nous and plot his way around Royal Lytham & St Annes.

“It’s a course you have to stay patient on,” said Dyson, who recovered from an early bogey yesterday to post four birdies in his round.

“You have to really position the ball off the tee. If you can do that then you can attack a few pins, but if you start attacking off the tee then you could shoot a lot of big numbers.

“I’m not out of it, no matter what the score.

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“It all depends on the weather. If it blows on Saturday you might shoot one under and move up the leaderboard.”

What heartens Dyson is the fact his two rounds so far have brought together two attributes that usually equate to a good result, namely ball striking and scrambling.

Throw in a chip-in on the 17th for his fourth birdie yesterday, and things are looking up.

“That was a nice bonus but I was very pleased with the round as a whole, I played nicely,” he said.

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“I didn’t drive it well at all on the first day but I scrambled very well.

“But (yesterday) I managed to get the ball in the positions I wanted to.

“If you’re hitting off the fairway to these pins there are a few that you can attack.

“I managed to do that and hole a few putts, so I was pleased. And hopefully I can continue in that vein (today).”

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Dyson’s round contrasted greatly with that of his county colleague Richard Finch, who for one hole – playing into the morning wind at Lytham – thrashed about like a club golfer.

Finch, who began the day four over par and mindful that he needed to make birdies to qualify for the weekend, ran up a 10 on the 416-yard par-four eighth to ruin his scorecard.

He posted a 78 to finish 12 over par but had the class to meet the media afterwards to talk about his double-figure horror show.

“I got myself into a bit of a pickle going up the eighth hole,” he began, in a tone that echoed many a rueful 18-handicapper lamenting an embarrassing score.

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“It went from bad to worse. I hit it in the bunker and then hit the face of the bunker, then into the thick rough.

“I went for the green and it went off line and into the trees.

“I didn’t find that ball so I went back for a provisional, then hit that one and buried that further in the grass, right where it was to start with, and had to take a penalty drop.

“Finally I got it on the green and two-putted and that was for 10, or at least that’s what everyone in our group thought it was, so that was good enough for me.

“It was a long 10 holes after that.

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“It’s easy in hindsight to say if I played out of the bunker sideways I might have been okay, but you’d never get anywhere if you did that every time.

“I’ve made 30 pars out of 36 holes over the two days, so it’s not that bad but obviously something is not right and I’ve not got any momentum. Making birdies gets you going, but at the minute it’s not quite clicking.”

So Finch headed home with work to do. He has a few weeks off over the summer to find a solution to take into the final months of the 2012 season. “I could try and change everything and think I’m doing everything wrong, but I don’t think I am doing everything wrong,” said Finch.

“I’ve tried doing that before and it’s not the answer, so it’s just a case of keep working away, keep trying.

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“I made four bogeys and had two really bad holes and it was just through bad tee shots.

“I’m not a million miles away but the results show that I need to improve.

“It doesn’t have to be a whole lot different to what it has been to result in it being decent again.

“We spoke about it in the week. It’s a tough test at the majors, I knew that from previous experiences.

“There’s no average shots that are all right.

“If it’s not good then you’re in a difficult position and struggling.”