Saturday, December 7, 2013
The Associated Press
(Continued from page 1)
Zach Johnson knocks his ball out of a bunker Thursday during the first round of the British Open at Muirfield. Johnson grabbed the lead with a 5-under 66.
Photos by The Associated Press
Tiger Woods of the United States plays out of the rough on the first fairway during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship at Muirfield, Scotland, on Thursday.
Yes, there was plenty of that.
Rory McIlroy never looked comfortable, and it caught up with him. After missing left of the 12th green, he chipped it up the slope and watched it roll back down to his feet. His next chip was long and he wound up with double bogey. On the 15th hole, his putt to the back pin rolled well past the hole and into a bunker for another double bogey. A bogey-bogey finish gave him a 79, his highest score at the Open since an 80 in the vicious wind of St. Andrews in 2010.
At least he had some company.
Luke Donald, another former No. 1 player in the world, shot 80. Nick Faldo celebrated his 56th birthday with a return to the links where he won two of his three claret jugs. He shot a 79.
Woods hooked his opening tee shot so far left, and into grass so deep, that he took a penalty shot for an unplayable lie. He hit into a bunker, but blasted out to 4 feet to escape with bogey. He made four birdies in his round. But it was the clutch putting that kept him going.
Dustin Johnson played the three par 5s in 4-under, yet what made him smile was a par. From left of the par-3 seventh green, he chipped between two bunkers and watched the ball ride the rounded face of one, roll precariously near the top of another and settle 4 feet away.
"That," he said, "was sweet."
Mickelson, coming off a win at the Scottish Open on a links-styled course at Castle Stuart, rolled in three big putts early in his round and kept it together with great lag putts for par when he ran into what he called "technical difficulties."
He rallied with a pair of late birdies, but his last attempt from 15 feet above the hole on the 18th slid some 6 feet by for a three-putt bogey. Even so, Lefty was pleased to be done as the greens turned brown.
"I got very lucky to play early today because as the day wore on and we got to the back nine, about a third of every green started to die and become brown," he said. "And the pins were very edgy, on the slopes. The guys that played early had a huge, huge break. Because even without any wind, it's beyond difficult."
Ninety-eight players in the 156-man field had at least a double bogey on their scorecards. Former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover might have summed it up best when he took to Twitter after opening with an 80.
"Muirfield 1, Me 0."
click image to enlarge
Shiv Kapur of India plays a shot on the 12th hole during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship at Muirfield, Scotland, on Thursday.
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Zach Johnson of the United States prepares to play off the 12th tee during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship at Muirfield, Scotland, on Thursday.