The late evening sunshine belied a brutal day at Royal St George's.
Relentless wind and rain lashed the south-east coast, the players were reeling, their
numerous towels were wet, the fans were leaving, umbrellas were blowing inside out and
the ice cream salesmen were going out of business.
The course played so long for the morning starters as high winds gusted up to
35mph and at one point caused stationary balls to move.
Britain's Simon Khan said the 14th was a par-six - Gregory Havret took 10 - and there
were 10 double bogeys or worse on the par-four 4th.
But as the conditions eased some scoring took place, with Dustin Johnson and Rickie
Fowler both carding 68s, and the leaderboard had more than a hint of the Stars and Stripes in
Darren Clarke still leads but will need to hold off the American challenge with 10 of
the 15 men within six shots coming from the US.
Of course this is in stark contrast to last month's US Open in Washington when only two US
players made it into the top 10 behind winner Rory McIlroy.
The often used accusation that Americans only know how to play target golf is not borne
out by the statistics.
In a 12-year period from 1995 to 2006, there were 10 US wins in the Open and the last
US winner was Stewart Cink at Turnberry two years ago.
Tom Lehman said: "I don't think it's easy to put Americans in a box and say they can
only play one certain kind of golf, and I don't think that's true. This actually brings
out a bit of the creativity that a lot of the guys have but they're not forced to use
Lehman, at 52, joined Phil Mickelson at 41 and Ryder Cup captain Davis Love at 47, among
the ageing Americans who pulled on their years of experience to plot their way around
the bumpy, quirky Kent layout and put themselves in contention.
But the obituary for US golf looks a little premature with 20-somethings Johnson,
Fowler and Anythony Kim also in contention.
Indeed if Johnson hadn't imploded in last year's US Open, Bubba Watson had managed to
win last year's US PGA Championship play-off and any American had managed to win one
more point at last year's Ryder Cup that obituary may have never been written.
Round of the day: 61-year-old Tom Watson, a renowned performer in bad weather, used all
his experience to reach the turn at one-under in the worst of it and his eventual 72
for a four-over total of 214 was nothing short of miraculous.
Quote of the day: "I've never had a 10 at a Major and maybe only one other in my career
over 10 years and 300 or so tournaments so it happened at the worst possible time. I
felt like crying," Havret, who was runner-up at the 2010 US Open, told Reuters.
Fashion blunder of the day: 22-year-old Californian Rickie Fowler also buckled down
admirably in the alien conditions but dude, what is this!