Casey misses chance to repeat Ballesteros memory

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“It was a great opportunity, a great chance,” Thompson said. “I’m glad I came over.”

Thompson had a backup plan. The 27-year-old who starred at Alabama was going to take his wife to London before returning to take the charter to the Canadian Open. This was much better, even though he struggled on the greens.

After his round, he sent Crane a message via Twitter.

“Thanks for giving me the opportunity to play in my first (at)The_Open. Sorry I couldn’t take advantage today. I owe you a beer!”

Crane responded, referencing a familiar hash tag used by Bubba Watson by tweeting, “You’re welcome.”

A good round Friday could go a long way for Thompson. He is at No. 56 in the world and needs to make the cut and have a good weekend. The top 50 after the Canadian Open next week get into the World Golf Championship at Firestone.

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A BIRDIE THAT COUNTED: Brandt Snedeker had to settle for a birdie on the 16th, but at least it counted.

In a practice round Wednesday afternoon, trying to figure out the line if conditions favored hitting a driver on the 336-yard hole, Snedeker made a hole-in-one for an albatross. Hardly anyone was around to see it, and unlike the hole-in-one that Alvaro Quiros made on the par-4 seventh at Olympic Club in a U.S. Open practice round, there wasn’t a camera fixed behind the green to catch it on tape.

“Complete waste of a great shot because it does me no good in a practice round,” Snedeker said.

That ace came on his second shot. Snedeker first hit iron off the tee, and that’s what he did with a scorecard in hand Thursday. He hit wedge into 10 feet and made the birdie, sending him to a 66 that left him two shots out of the lead.

“It’s a great short par-4 hole because it’s a blind shot off the tee, so you can miss the fairway pretty easily there,” Snedeker said. “And if you want to go with a driver, there’s a chance to make a 2 there, for sure, but there’s also a chance to make a 5 really easily. It puts some excitement in the last three or four holes there, for sure.

“I definitely think whoever wins this tournament is going to play that hole pretty significantly under par.”

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CAMERAS: The group of Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose didn’t see too many mobile phones in the gallery.

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