By Brian Keogh

Debut boy Damien McGrane reckons there could be Zulus hiding in the rough at Royal Birkdale.

The grass is waist high in places at the Southport track and the Meath man want to avoid it at all costs when he tees off in the 'Zulu Dawn' patrol with Jerry Kelly and Darren Fichardt at 7.03am.

Anxious to make his Major debut at last, McGrane said: "It is a tough track. There are a lot of tough holes out there and you have to hit long, straight tee shots.

"If you play well, you will do well and if you don't you will get hammered, especially by the rough.

"I haven't lost the bag in it yet and I haven't see any Zulus out there yet either.

"They must be hiding because I am sure they are in there somewhere. It is not the place you want to be hanging out.

"If you get lucky, you can have a go at getting it out of the rough. But if you get greedy, you won't move it very far."

McGrane, 37, wants to move on with his career after following his breakthrough win in the Volvo China Open with six missed cuts.

After sharing 19th place at Loch Lomond last week to stop the rot, he wants to push on and get a result.

Targeting the Open as the start of a new phase in his career, he said: "I have been very average since I won. My confidence was taking a bruising on the course.

"I was in freefall and battling to shoot level par but last week I got a few good breaks. Hopefully I have survived it.

"You want to acheive something in this game all the time and my win is a long time ago. I need to press on and look for what's coming around the corner."

Not the longest of hitters, McGrane needs to stay on the fairways to have any chance of getting into contention this week.

But with 25 mph winds whipping across the Irish Sea, some of the holes are absolute monsters for him.

He said: "The weather has been fairly ferocious since we came here and some of the holes are playing massive. The sixth was two woods for me and so was the second and a few other holes.

"There is a lot of hitting to be done out there. But you have to play it and take it as it comes on the day.

"With the test that is out there you have to do the best you can and see what it adds up to. You could go out tomorrow and 74 could be a great score."