Zach Johnson leads The 2013 Open Championship after the opening day at Muirfield.
After Adam Scott’s US Masters victory in April, Jason Day’s near miss at last month’s US Open and 12 Australians in the field at the 2013 Open Championship, there were high hopes for Australian fortunes at Muirfield this week.
But the hard, fast running Muirfield layout got the better of most of the Australians during the opening round.
Former US Masters champion Zach Johnson leads the way after making the most of the better morning conditions. Johnson’s 5-under par round of 66 included an eagle at the par-5 5th hole and found himself atop of the leaderboard at the end of the day after jostling with Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez and compatriot Dustin Johnson for the morning honours.
Adam Scott finished the day as the best of the Aussies at even par after an up-and-down round which included four birdies and four bogey’s.
“There was a lot of good stuff out there today but a couple of surprises, just with how firm the course has got again overnight even,” said Scott.
“Especially the greens at the end of the day. Some of them, it’s like glass around the hole.
Jason Day finished his round with a double-bogey to drop back to 2-over for the day. He sits alongside Marcus Fraser who managed to get out of trouble as the leading scrambler for the day and keep himself in the tournament.
Veteran Peter Senior sits a shot further back at 3-over par, as does club professional John Wade who just happened to qualify for The Open while touring around the UK on holiday.
The surprise packets on day one came from 1998 Open champion Mark O’Meara and little known Indian golfer Shiv Kapur.
Kapur who is a member of the Asian Tour made the turn at Muirfield at 6-under par but succumbed to the trying layout and conditions to finish with a 3-under 68.
“I was in dreamland for a while when I birdied my first three holes. This is probably the fastest greens I’ve played in my life. It felt like I was putting on glass,” Kapur said after his round.
O’Meara’s opening round was probably more of a suprise.
O’Meara’s good friend Tiger Woods managed to overcome a rough start to record an opening round 2-under par 69. Woods is making a habit of poor opening drives at the British Open and followed the trend finding the rough at the difficult first hole at Muirfield, forcing him into take a drop for an unplayable lie.
He is lurking ominously behind the leaders though and is very much in the hunt for his fourth Open Championship title.