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Alex Miceli
Phil Mickelson carded a 2-under 70, capped by a birdie at the par-5 18th.
Phil Mickelson carded a 2-under 70, capped by a birdie at the par-5 18th.

HOYLAKE, England – Many times major championships are won not by eagles or birdies, but by the par save that keeps the round going.

That was the case Friday for Phil Mickelson, who needed to make a 6-footer on the par-5 10th hole to salvage a par and keep a good round from getting away.

“It was a crazy par save, wasn't it,” Mickelson said after shooting a 2-under 70. “You know, I played really well today, but there were a couple of loose shots. The drive on 10, the missed putt on 7 ended up costing me another one ...

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Beth Ann Nichols
George Coetzee waves to the gallery on the 18th green during the second round of the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
George Coetzee waves to the gallery on the 18th green during the second round of the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

HOYLAKE, England – George Coetzee’s birthday always falls during Open Championship week. The South African gave himself a tidy 3-under 69 to celebrate his 28th. When asked whether he planned to have birthday dinner and drinks tonight with his girlfriend and mom, Coetzee said, “Yeah, a couple of Cokes.”

When you’re one shot behind Rory McIlroy at the Open Championship, a bit of restraint is in order. There will plenty of drinks come Sunday if a certain jug is involved.

This marks Coetzee’s fourth Open Championship. In his debut, in 2011 at Royal St. George’s, he opened ...

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Adam Scott during Thursday's first round of the 2014 British Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.
Adam Scott during Thursday's first round of the 2014 British Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.

HOYLAKE, England – Memories from the 2011 U.S. Open are quite vivid and so, too, the 2012 PGA Championship. And, clearly, Adam Scott doesn’t have a problem recalling what happened just a month ago.

That is why as he came home into a stiff breeze late in the first round at Royal Liverpool, Scott told himself, “we don’t want him running away.”

“Him” being Rory McIlroy, who has done that twice already on a major stage – 2011 at Congressional and 2012 at Kiawah Island, both by a whopping eight strokes. And for good measure, Scott was part of ...

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Alex Miceli
Jim Furyk during Thursday's first round of the 2014 British Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.
Jim Furyk during Thursday's first round of the 2014 British Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.

Jim Furyk took a month off before coming to Hoylake. He, wife Tabitha and their two children spent three weeks in Utah and a week in Paris.

The down time seemed to have worked as Furyk returned to competitive golf by posting a 4-under 68 in the first round of the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

“Mentally I'm in a good frame of mind, and I've been real happy. Mechanically and physically, I felt really good over the ball,” Furyk, 44, said after posting the third-best score in his Open Championship career. “I felt a lot of confidence ...

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Jeff Babineau
Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els after their first round Thursday in the 2014 British Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.
Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els after their first round Thursday in the 2014 British Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.

HOYLAKE, England – Apologies to Charles Dickens, but Thursday at Royal Liverpool in the 143rd Open Championship, it was the best of times, it the worst of times. This was the day's mix: Uncharacteristically untroublesome scoring conditions on a docile morning along the Wirral coastline, and then adventure and misfortune in the afternoon on the suddenly windswept English links.

Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Bubba Watson took part in the angrier side of a long day at Hoylake, teeing off in mid-afternoon and experiencing more than their share of nightmare and heartache. In fact, envision their round together as a ...

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Golfweek Staff
Phil Mickelson is set to play with Ernie Els and Bubba Watson for the first two rounds at Hoylake.
Phil Mickelson is set to play with Ernie Els and Bubba Watson for the first two rounds at Hoylake.

Tiger Woods, defending champion Phil Mickelson and World No. 1 Adam Scott are chasing Rory McIlroy after the first round of the 2014 British Open championship Thursday at Royal Liverpool.

McIlroy's 66 has him in the lead by a shot over Matteo Manassero.

Recap the highlights from Hoylake, England – and scroll down to recap the round as well as check out our preview coverage of Open Championship happenings at Royal Liverpool!

• • •

Update #28: 3:45 p.m. EDT

Let's take a ...

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Jeff Rude
Henrik Stenson fired an even-par 72 in the first round of the Open Championship.
Henrik Stenson fired an even-par 72 in the first round of the Open Championship.

HOYLAKE, England – Some even-par rounds are more eventful than others. Henrik Stenson reinforced that Thursday during the Open Championship first round when he putted a ball off of a green and, five holes later, broke a wedge over his knee.

The Swede made what he called a “good bogey” on the 458-yard 17th, where he hit three shots from heavy rough before reaching the green. But after the second swipe from high grass, a strong and upset Stenson snapped a shaft into two pieces.

“I didn’t see anything. Did you see anything?” the world’s No. 2 ranked golfer ...

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Alistair Tait
Rory McIlroy fired a bogey-free, 6-under 66 on Thursday at the Open Championship.
Rory McIlroy fired a bogey-free, 6-under 66 on Thursday at the Open Championship.

HOYLAKE, England – Will Rory McIlroy have another Freaky Friday?

McIlroy is in familiar territory at the top of the leaderboard Thursday. Where he’ll be Friday evening is anybody’s guess.

Freaky Fridays have developed into a nasty habit for the former World No. 1.

McIlroy’s 6-under-par 66 gave him an early one-shot lead over Matteo Manassero. With a posse of players 4 under par, including Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Jim Furyk, Shane Lowry, the Molinari brothers and World No. 1 Adam Scott.

McIlroy went into a meltdown the last time he led the Open Championship after the first ...

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Jeff Rude
Tiger Woods celebrates making a birdie putt on the 11th green during his first-round, 3-under 69.
Tiger Woods celebrates making a birdie putt on the 11th green during his first-round, 3-under 69.

HOYLAKE, England – Rust? What rust?

Tiger Woods didn’t look corroded in the least, after bogeys on the first two holes anyway. Rather he looked comfortable and dangerous in shooting 3-under 69 in the Open Championship first round Thursday.

Woods missed the cut by four strokes at the Quicken Loans National three weeks ago in his first tournament back from March 31 microdiscectomy. That raised the question of how ready he would be for his first major championship round in 339 days.

He was ready. You might be surprised. He wasn’t.

“Well, I knew I could do it,” the ...

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Alex Miceli
Edoardo Molinari tees off on the fifth hole during the first round of the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Edoardo Molinari tees off on the fifth hole during the first round of the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

HOYLAKE, England – Italy never has been known as a hotbed of golf. Its sports history is tied to a soccer team that has won four World Cup titles since 1934 and a fencing program that has captured more than 60 gold medals in the Olympics since the turn of the 20th century.

That could all change with the Molinari brothers, Edoardo and Francesco, sitting near the top of the leaderboard in the 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

“I think in Italy at the moment it's more about team sports and football in particular,” The younger Francesco said of ...

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Alex Miceli
Ben Crane won the FedEx St. Jude Classic last month.
Ben Crane won the FedEx St. Jude Classic last month.

HOYLAKE, England – Ben Crane has been at Royal Liverpool since 5:20 a.m. Thursday morning in hopes of teeing it up in his sixth Open Championship.

It wasn’t until Tuesday evening at just after 5:00 p.m. in Portland that Crane found out from his manager that he was now the first alternate due to Seung-Yul Noh’s decision to stay in Korea.

Upon hearing the news, Crane stopped his charity lesson after just one shot and jumped into his car where he had his clubs and suitcase ready to go.

The odyssey started on a flight ...

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Jim McCabe
Brooks Koepka fired a 4-under 68 on Thursday at the Open Championship.
Brooks Koepka fired a 4-under 68 on Thursday at the Open Championship.

HOYLAKE, England – There was a pause in the Round 1 action Thursday at Royal Liverpool as officials had to wait . . . and wait . . . and wait for Brooks Koepka’s ball to come to a complete stop at the 528-yard, par-5 fifth.

Launched high and explosively into the English air, the first of Koepka’s two shots struck with a driver took a while to come down and then to stop rolling. “He hit it over 400 yards,” said caddie Ricky Elliott. “He hit a wedge in there.”

Birdie.

But hold the applause and offer a yawn. It was a par 5 ...

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Beth Ann Nichols
Robert Karlsson tees off on the fifth hole during the first round of the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Robert Karlsson tees off on the fifth hole during the first round of the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

HOYLAKE, England – Robert Karlsson’s alarm clock went off at 4:00 a.m. His wife, Ebba, cooked his breakfast and sent him off to Royal Liverpool for a 6:30 a.m. tee time. Much to Karlsson’s surprise, the first-tee grandstands were packed.

“I would not have been there,” Karlsson said, laughing.

But Karlsson, a 6-foot-5-inch Swede and 11-time European Tour winner, won’t be complaining about a bad draw at the Open Championship any time soon. It was only two years ago that the affable Karlsson withdrew on the eve of this championship with a most horrid ...

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Phil Mickelson during a practice round Monday at the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.
Phil Mickelson during a practice round Monday at the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.

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Jeff Rude
Henrik Stenson on the eve of the 2014 British Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.
Henrik Stenson on the eve of the 2014 British Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.

Jeff Rude’s “Hate To Be Rude” column appears on Golfweek.com on Wednesday.

HOYLAKE, England – Invariably when people learn what I do for a living, they tend to ask at least one of four questions.

1. What’s Tiger like?

2. What’s Phil like?

3. What’s your favorite course?

4. Who’s your favorite player?

The answers, using single words for brevity’s sake, are:

1. Guarded.

2. Playful.

3. Dornoch.

4. Stenson.

For years, the likes of Bruce Lietzke, Dan Forsman and Brandel Chamblee were my favorite players. But they’ve long moved on from playing ...

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