Ian Poulter, one of the Royal & Ancient’s most outspoken critics this week, called for Open organisers to be “sensible” with pin positions over the weekend.
The Englishman’s level-par 71 was in the top 20 scores on a day when the Muirfield links got ever faster and firmer.
It put the Ryder Cup star well in contention at one over, four off the lead held by Miguel Angel Jimenez.
But he, along with the likes of defending champion Ernie Els, led the calls for more action to be taken to at least make the greens fairer with world number two Phil Mickelson claiming they were quicker than the lightning-fast surfaces at the Masters.
“It is hard to get it close to any of those pins,” Poulter said.
“When the ball is running as fast as it’s running and as firm as the fairways are short of the greens it’s really difficult to predict how far the ball is going to roll.
“We can all play this golf course when the pin locations are in places where you’re not going to get called out for hitting a good putt for 20 feet.
“Today I think there was only one, probably 15, that was very dicey.
“I managed to two-putt it, so I’m over the moon but Billy Horschel hit a putt from 15 feet and it rolled 15ft past.
“It’s brutally difficult to get it anywhere near a range where you feel comfortable having a go at a putt from 15, 20, 40ft.
“They (R&A) can’t soften the golf course up too much but we just need some sensible pins and it will be playable.”
Two of the best putters in the competition, world number five Mickelson and number eight Brandt Snedeker, four-putted the 16th and 15th greens respectively.
“I barely hit it, it just got over the crest but it was downhill, downwind, and these are faster than Augusta,” said the four-time major winner.
“Augusta is 14.5 on the stimp (which measures pace of greens) and these were well into the 15 in spots and that was one of them.”
Els highlighted 14 and 15 which, in his opinion, needed slowing up.
“Water – and you don’t have to cut them,” was his solution.
“Fourteen and 15 are really getting out of hand. It’s not very playable.”
Snedeker, in contention for most of the afternoon, was in agreement after finishing with a 79 which dropped him back to five over.
“You can probably look at it at the end of the day and see how many guys hit the green. I’m sure it’s very few,” said the American.
“We’ve got sand wedges into the green but I don’t know how you’re supposed to do (stop) it.
“I don’t know if that’s fair or not. They need to put some water on it.
“Everything is dead. You’ve got fairways that are running 15 in some spots. You can’t stand up, you can slip.”