First day of British Open a long, eventful one
Thursday, July 15, 2010
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The tee sheet ran for nearly 10 hours – 6:30 a.m. to 4:21 p.m. – and play stretched for approximately 15 hours. It was, as it always is, the longest day in major championship golf, and not surprisingly, the sidelights were many.
A little of this, some of that from the first round of the 2010 British Open:
• BIGGEST SHOCK: No, not Rory McIlroy’s 63, but rather the 73 posted by Padraig Harrington in the same conditions. With virtually everyone going low, it was unthinkable to see a two-time winner of this championship stumble so badly. But he made one of three double bogeys at one of the gentlest first holes in major-championship golf (the hole, a par 4, played to a field average of 3.891), battled back to 1 under, then bogeyed 16 and 17.
• OTHER POOR STARTS: Jim Furyk shot 77, his worst British Open round since a 78 to start the 2005 championship here at St. Andrews. Former Open champs Justin Leonard and Ben Curtis had 76, while Phil Mickelson, Angel Cabrera and Tom Watson posted 73.
• TERRIBLE TRIO: You can imagine it took Game 19 a while to play the 17th hole because Mike Weir and Davis Love made double bogeys and Darren Clarke bogey.
• “BURN” VICTIMS: That’s the name of the first hole at the Old Course, and Harrington wasn’t the only one to stumble badly. Tom Pernice Jr. and George McNeill also made double bogeys.
• OPENING ACT: His scoring average for the first round had been 71.83 in six previous tournaments this year, so clearly Tiger Woods, with a 67, is off to his best start of the year. Still, he’s four off the lead, and that continues a bizarre trend. Excluding the first two rounds of the year, when he trailed by two after 18 then after 36 in the Masters, Woods has played 20 rounds and been within three of the lead just once.
• BAD TO GOOD: Turnaround of the day belonged to Charl Schwartzel. Out in 40, the South African came home in 31, which included a birdie, birdie finish.
• TOUGH TASK: Schwartzel was one of five players to record birdies at the infamous “Road Hole.”
• RED BRIGADES: If you like birdies, you’d have loved following Games 10 and 11. First, Robert Allenby, Nick Watney and Oliver Wilson went a combined 12 under; next, Lucas Glover, Rory McIlroy and Tim Clark went 15 under.
• OLD POWER: He might be 50 and a devotee of the Champions Tour, but Mark Calcavecchia still packs a punch. He drove the green and birdied the par-4 18th to shoot 2-under 70.
• YOUNG POWER GONE WILD: Frenchman Victor Dubuisson was the only player to slam one onto Links Parade, which runs down the right side of the 18th. It’s out of bounds and resulted in a double bogey.
• COMEBACK KID: Anders Hansen had perhaps the wildest finish to his round. He made 8 at the par 4 17th, then 2 at the par 4 18th.
• ROOKIE’S ROUGH ROAD: Rickie Fowler will file his Open Championship debut under “forgettable.” Sitting just 2 over in the afternoon turmoil, Fowler gambled with a driver at the tough par-4 16th, even while playing competitors Paul Casey and Angel Cabrera hit irons. Fowler slammed it wide right and out of bounds, made triple, then made a double at the 17th en route to a 79.
• BREAKTHROUGH: Lucas Glover’s 67 was his first sub-70 effort and second sub-par score in 13 rounds in the British Open.