The Open Championship began early this morning at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, and so far the leaderboard is topped with some huge names and major champions.Adam Scott had a chance to set an all-time major record with a round of 62, but Scott bogeyed the 18th after a poor tee shot to finish with a 64 and the lead.
Scores have been rather low today at a very difficult Lytham & St. Annes course, as players have been taking advantage of unusually calm wind conditions and very soft greens.
Paul Lawrie birdied the 18th to finish the day 5-under, and is tied for second with Zach Johnson and Nicolas Colsaerts.
Tiger Woods is just a few shots back at 3-under, after bogeying the 15th hole. Woods missed the fairway from the tee and faced an impossible shot out of a thicket of rough. He only advanced the ball about 120 yards — effectively a one-shot rough penalty.
Woods finished the day with a 67, but left a few shots on the golf course with birdie putts that barely missed.
Current Masters champion Bubba Watson and Ernie Els are at 3-under, three shots back, along with Toshinori Muto, Keegan Bradley and Graeme McDowell.
62-year-old Tom Watson, who lost in a playoff in the 2009 Open Championship, ended his Thursday at 1-over and will have a good chance to make the cut tomorrow.
Rory McIlroy is at 2-under and still on the course. McIlroy got a bit unlucky when his tee shot flew into the gallery and struck a fan in the head — causing the ball to bounce out of bounds. The fan was OK, but McIlroy took a double bogey on the hole.
He immediately bounced back by driving the green on the 336-yard par-4 16th and two-putting for birdie. Rory birdied the last to make up for his fiasco at 15 and end the day at 3-under.
Phil Mickelson has already been victimized by the thick rough at Lytham, and has had to search for his ball numerous times. He is currently 3-over.
In one sequence, Mickelson hit out of the bunker you see below but just caught the top of the lip, and the ball buried into some deep rough. Mickelson was forced to declare this ball unplayable and move back about 20 yards, but managed to get up and down from there for bogey:
Despite a second-place finish last year, the Open hasn’t been very kind to Phil over the years. ESPN’s Bob Harig summed it up nicely in this tweet:
Phil is making his 19th start in the Open. He’s broken par in the first round just 4 times. He is 3 over.
— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) July 19, 2012
We’ll keep you updated throughout the day.
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