NORTH Yorkshire's Simon Dyson was heading for quick early return home today from the Open at Troon after dreams that the earliest turn could catch the birdies failed to materialise.

Dyson, fellow Englishman Ian Poulter - who dazzled the first day in Union Jack trousers - and Korean KC Ho, were the first threesome out in today's second round and all were striving to regain a foothold, particularly the 26-year-old Malton and Norton Golf Club ace.

His first day at Royal Troon ended with a four-over par 75 with his round blighted at three of the first four holes on the inward nine.

But there was little respite today as Dyson slumped to nine over par after 15 hole after dropping shots at the fourth, sixth, seventh tenth and 15th holes.

Dyson reckoned his poor short iron play was responsible for his score yesterday, particularly with the seven and eight irons into the greens.

He said: "I kept getting on the wrong side and this cost me a couple of bogeys on the

front nine and another three on the back.

"Apart from the 10th where I hit a bad drive, the driver and the three-wood has been working well, long and straight.

"They say the inward half is the most difficult, but there were a lot of chances to make birdies and if anything it was the putting that let me down".

There were a couple of highlights. The first coming at the 127-yard par-3

'Postage Stamp' where Dyson hit a wedge from the tee into a greenside trap,

then proceeded to make amends by holing his bunker shot for a birdie.

The ball hit the flag-staff, ran down the pole into the hole much to the delight of the gallery who earlier had seen Ernie Els hole out from the tee.

At the 18th he hit a three iron from the fairway to eight feet and sank the putt.

This was the shot that pleased him most as it came after bogeys at 11

and 13 and the double bogey at ten.

One of Dyson's playing partners is Ian Poulter, a golfer whose idea of sartorial elegance has been gleaned from the flags festooning the English

contingent at the European Championship.

This did not appear to worry Dyson, who unlike the many who rang and

e-mailed the R & A yesterday, said he hardly noticed the gaudy red, white and blue trousers. "I just thought Ian played very well, hitting some great shots".

Michael Campbell, Thomas Levet and Paul Casey were in a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard early today.

Updated: 10:41 Friday, July 16, 2004