The 2014 Open Championship has begun at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, and unusually calm, sunny weather has greeted the early group of players. Low numbers abound, and Rory McIlroy, playing the 15th hole at the time of this writing, is off to yet another hot start, at -5 for the round and without a bogey on the card..
21-year-old Matteo Manassero of Italy is the clubhouse leader, in with a five-under-par round of 67. This is Manassero’s fourth Open appearance, and he’s off to his best start since earning low amateur honors back in 2009 at Turnberry. Close behind him are Brooks Koepka, who tied for fourth at the U.S. Open, Jim Furyk, and the Molinari brothers, Francisco and Edoardo.
Here’s how the early numbers are shaking out:
T1. Manassero; -5 (F)
T1. McIlroy; -5 (14)
T3. Koepka, E. Molinari, F. Molinari, Furyk, Sergio Garcia; -4
As the day has worn on, the coastal breeze seems to be picking up a bit, and the course is playing faster. As the weather becomes more of what we expect from the Open, we’ll see just how much of an advantage the early groupings may have.
Then, of course, there’s Tiger Woods. All eyes have been on Woods, playing in his first major of 2014 after undergoing back surgery three months ago. Somewhat surprisingly – or not, depending on your perspective, Woods appears to be none the worse for wear, battling some wayward shots but currently sitting nicely at three-under-par, in a group tied for eighth that also includes Rickie Fowler.
As many good numbers have been posted already, McIlroy is clearly out to prove that he’s back at major caliber, and later starters like Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott have some work to do. Check back here as the day rolls on for more updates from The Open Championship.