The conditions at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s couldn’t have been much better for the majority of the first round of the British Open (or Open Championship, whichever you prefer). The morning wave of golfers were greeted by exceptionally mild conditions, with very little wind and no rain. Playing a links course in such conditions usually leads to a very receptive golf course and, subsequently, low scores.
Adam Scott was one of the golfers that took advantage of the conditions. He was flirting with the record for the low major championship score of 62 in a round, but a par on 17 and a bogey on 18 sent him to the clubhouse with a 6 under par 65. All in all, that’s nothing to shake a stick at after 1 round of the Open Championship. Nicolas Colaserts of Belgium, Scotsman Paul Lawrie and American Zach Johnson are tied for 2nd at 5 under par, while Brandt Snedeker is in 5th all by himself at 4 under.
Some of the who’s who in the world are sitting at 3 under after 1 round, including Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Steve Stricker. Woods was flirting with a monster round after going 4 under on the front 9 while adding a bogey and 8 pars on the back. There were most definitely some missed opportunities on the back for Tiger, or else he could’ve posted a ridiculously low number. McIlroy found himself in some trouble on the 15th after he struck a spectator in the head with his tee shot, leading to a double bogey. Instead of folding, however, Rory came back on 16 and drove the green before two putting his way to birdie. After he rolled in another birdie putt on 18, McIlroy landed in the clubhouse at 3 under.
Phil Mickelson’s struggles in Open Championships continued on Thursday. This type of golf course and the conditions in which players are forced to compete do not suit his game at all. Phil likes to play the ball high and with a lot of spin. That doesn’t really work when the wind is gusting, which it did for periods of time during his round later in the day. Mickelson, himself, said that he should have carded a score that was better than 3 over par. Unfortunately for Lefty, he was playing out of the DEEP rough for much of the day, as he only hit a handful of fairways and had 2 rather lengthy conversations with rules officials that did not go in his favor.
The conditions are likely to be more difficult tomorrow, at least for a good portion of the day, so it is likely that some of the leaders will fall back to the field. The big question is whether or not anyone has a low score in their bag in order to make a move.