Hoylake: The lure of walking the 18th fairway once again and see the Indian flag fluttering kept him going before an ailing Anirban Lahiri bowed out of The Open Championship with a second straight three-over-par 75 here on Friday.
The 27-year-old Lahiri had been suffering from fever since Monday evening.
"If it was any other tournament, I may have pulled out, said Lahiri.
Under tough conditions, Lahiri dropped three bogeys and one double bogey but managed to sink two birdies, including one on the last hole. The Indian, who has won once this season and posted three more top-10s on the Asian Tour, said he wasn't sure if he would conclude his round under the steamy conditions.
"I had bad fever and body ache and I was contemplating at one time whether to play or not, (but) because I wanted to walk down the 18th and see the Indian flag, I decided to tee up," said Lahiri.
"My manager and Bradleys chatted with me and put me in the right mood to play. I wasn't sure if I was going to finish the round. Around the 7th or 8th I was feeling bad, but I am glad though that I played. It was a great learning experience," he added.
"I spoke to my father. I have had fever since Monday. It has to be some viral. I keep getting body ache and shivers. It keeps returning every night, and I have seen it before and my Dad diagnosed it. I took paracetamol and brufen and that helped me to two play at least two days."
Lahiri finished with justified reward in the form of a birdie on the 18th to card a second successive 75 but his total of 150 was not enough to keep him on for the weekend.
"That birdie at the very last was some compensation. I had felt disappointed at not being able to get a birdie at either 16 or 18 yesterday. I made up somewhat today," said Lahiri.
Despite the disappointment of having to take an early flight home, Lahiri said he would learn from the experience of competing at the highest level when his body wasn't 100 per cent.
"The two Opens I have played have been contrasting. I sure want to come back and use my experience. Meanwhile I have to recover quickly and get some rest and get ready for PGA."
Lahiri had bogeys on the third and fifth but got a birdie on the seventh. A double on ninth saw him turn in three-over but despite the sagging energy levels, he hit six pars before a bogey on 16th.
Meanwhile, at the top, Rory McIlroy, who saw his lead being protected by the windy morning made light of the bogey on first and ran up three birdies on the front nine to get to eight-under and added another on 10th to get to nine-under and open up a three-shot lead over Francesco Molinari (68-70), Ryan Moore (70-68) and Rickie Fowler.
Gerry Coetzee (69), Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen were all at five-under.
The British Open once again showed that no other Major is as affected by the weather as the wind blew along the shores of River Dee, running along Hoylake. By the afternoon, the wind was kicking up and made things even tougher.
In the morning, Coetzee celebrated his 28th birthday with a superb display in tough conditions to card three-under 69 and get to five-under 139 for two days.
There were two other notable performances -- Robert Karlsson (71) and Adam Scott (73). Karlsson was now four-under for 36 and Scott and Marc Leishman (72) were three-under for two rounds.