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July 15 2013

11:22 AM

Hanson's 50-50 on playing Open

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

EAST LOTHIAN, Scotland -- Joost Luiten will be watching Peter Hanson's preparation for the Open Championship with great interest.

After all, Hanson, who is suffering from a back injury, says he's 50-50 as far as teeing it up at Muirfield this week. And Luiten is first alternate now that Scott Stallings made the field when Phil Mickelson, who was already exempt, won the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.

The problem began when Hanson had to withdraw from The Greenbrier Classic after Sunday's three-hour rain delay. He had seven holes remaining but was unable to move when play resumed at 5 p.m.

There hasn't been much improvement in the week since he left the West Virginia mountains. Hanson came to Scotland last Friday so he could work with his physical therapist, who was up at Castle Stuart for the Scottish Open.

"He's been doing a lot of work on my back while I've been undertaking exercises and having treatment ... just to try and get it ready," Hanson said.

The Swede hasn't been able to practice yet but he planned to hit about 20 wedge shots Monday afternoon. But Hanson played Muirfield in the 1998 British Amateur so he is "no stranger" to the golf course.

"So the big test will be (Tuesday) because it I can play nine holes pain-free then that will be the key to my playing or not," Hanson said.

Is Luiten listening? Should Luiten make the field, Brendon de Jonge will become the first alternate.

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