Bernard Langer plays through laryngitis to lead Senior Open as carnage reigns at Royal Porthcawl

Remarkably, there were 46 scores in the 80s and three in the 90s, with poor Mike Heinen signing for a 96 to finish on 37-over.

To put that in perspective, the American is not a nobody who got into this field by the backdoor. He is a 50-year-old who has won £2m in his career and who won the Houston Open on the PGA Tour. And he birdied the last.

Heinen should be applauded for carrying on and not withdrawing, although perhaps in the gloom, with rain driving into his eyes, he simply could not plot a direct path back to the clubhouse.

Fred Couples fired a 75 to stand on eight-over and had only one word to describe what he discovered at his 9.30am tee-time – “comical”. His fellow American, Tom Lehman, concurred.

“The first eight holes were horrific. They were the worst conditions I’ve ever played in,” the 1996 Open champion said. “So to get off that front nine in even par, was one of the best nine holes I’ve ever played. I won the inner battle. That’s really all I wanted to do, is not really worry about result.”

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