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Paul Casey toughed out a 73 on Saturday, but met a prominent British sports fan. (Redington/Getty Images)

Birkdale Notebook: Royal fan meets Casey in the rough

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The angles of attack prompted by the stiff breeze confused more than one player. Plus, Paul Casey ran into a royal fan, Heath Slocum has no regrets, and more.

SOUTHPORT, England (AP) - Paul Casey flared his second shot on the par-5 15th well to right, near a cluster of gorse bushes and into deep grass. Marshals already were searching for the ball when Casey joined them, and then came a mild surprise.

"I looked over and HRH was right there with them," he said.

That would be His Royal Highness -- Prince Andrew -- who had been watching him play and decided to help look. He mentioned to Casey that he also had hit his shot in the same area when playing Royal Birkdale last week.

"I said, 'Did you find it?' And he said, 'Didn't bother looking,'" Casey said.

Casey never found his ball, had to return to the fairway and made a double bogey in his round of 73.

PLAYING THE ANGLES: Because of the forecast for strong wind, officials moved up the tee markers on the sixth, 11th and 16th holes, the latter two being the most significant. The 11th hole was shortened by 78 yards to play at about 360, while the 16th was moved 68 yards to the members' tee. But it also changed the angle of attack.

"Actually, it was a harder tee ball on No. 11 with those tees," Heath Slocum said. "You had three bunkers to negotiate. We didn't worry about them the first two days."

With the 11th tee moved far to the left, Davis Love III got there and couldn't figure out where to go or what to hit.

"It was weird," he said. "If you saw us up there, we couldn't even figure out what tee we were on. Once you figured out what tee you were on, you did the math, and there was nowhere to hit it."

He chose a 2-iron to stay short of the bunkers, went right into the rough and made his only bogey of the round.

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WESTWOOD IN A FISHBOWL: Lee Westwood had high hopes going into the Open, which might have made it more difficult.

The Englishman finished third at the U.S. Open, his highest finish in a major, missing out on the playoff at Torrey Pines by one shot. He was among the favorites at Royal Birkdale, especially since it had been nearly 40 years since an Englishman had won an Open Championship in England. Alas, he struggled from the start and shot 78 on Saturday to finish three rounds at 17-over 227.

"At the U.S. Open, I had no expectations," Westwood said. "This week, it was just not possible. Look at this. I've just shot 78 and there's 20 people wanting to talk to me. There's just so much going on, especially with an English player."

NO REGRETS: Health Slocum flew to England as the first alternate and wasn't sure if he would be able to play in his first Open until, thankfully, he got in Thursday morning.

He arrived in time for relentless wind and rain, and it shows on his scorecard with rounds of 73-76-74.

Any regrets? None at all.

"I don't remember a day when it was warm and sunny watching on TV," Slocum said. "It's a challenge."

That's not to suggest Slocum would have been disappointed had it been warm and dry, as it was at Hoylake, St. Andrews, Royal Troon and Royal St. George's in recent years.

"It would not have been what I expected," he said.

LEHMAN'S SKIN: Even with the tees moved forward, the par-4 sixth hole was the hardest at Royal Birkdale with a stroke average of just under 4.8. There was only one birdie in the third round, that belonging to Tom Lehman.

"Do I get a skin?" he asked after his 73.

Turns out it was a fairly routine birdie - hit the fairway, hit the green, make a putt.

"I hit a good drive, then smashed a 3-wood and holed about a 60-foot putt," Lehman said.

EXCHANGE RATE: Open prize money of 4.2 million British pounds will be converted at 1.9985 based on the exchange rate published by the Federal Reserve at noon Friday.

American translation: The purse is $8,393,700, with first place at just over $1.5 million. That means if a U.S. player wins, he will get 3,020 points toward the Ryder Cup.

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