More often than not in major championships there are one or two guys that get hot out of the gate that nobody expected to see near the top of the leaderboard. At the 2013 British Open, that guy just so happens to be 56 year-old Mark O’Meara.
The PGA Tour veteran couldn’t have dreamed up a much better start to this tournament than the one he executed on the golf course. He birdied his first two holes, followed that up with back-to-back birdies on the fifth and sixth holes and then added one more birdie on the ninth to round out an impressive front nine. O’Meara fell off a bit on the back nine where he surrendered a few of the strokes he picked up on the front. He bogeyed the 10th, 14th and 15th holes to fall to two under par but managed to quickly turn things around with an eagle at the difficult 17th. A birdie putt on the closing hole lipped out, giving O’Meara a four under par 67 on the day and putting him just one shot behind clubhouse leader Zach Johnson.
Since winning the Open Championship in 1998, his best finish was 22nd way back in 2002, which just so happens to be the last time the tournament was played at Muirfield. He currently spends his time on the Champions Tour, so O’Meara doesn’t get to compete against the youngsters on many occasions. He is certainly taking advantage of this opportunity to show that he still has some gas left in the tank.
I’d love to see O’Meara put together another round in the 60s tomorrow. That would likely put him on the first page of the leaderboard heading into the weekend. What happens at that point is anyone’s guess. He could continue to plod along and remain in contention or absolutely fall apart. The only thing I can be certain of, however, is that he’s grabbed the attention of many people that didn’t give him a chance this week.