Cameron Smith 1-over in defence of the Claret Jug

Min Woo Lee, Lucas Herbert best of the Aussies at The Open.

Media release via Golf Australia

Min Woo Lee flirted with the disaster that befell fellow Australian Lucas Herbert as the pair finished day one of The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club at even par and five strokes off the lead.

None of the 13 Australasian players in the field finished the day in red figures, Herbert tumbling from top spot on the leaderboard with a triple-bogey at the par-3 17th as defending champion Cameron Smith opened with a round of 1-over 72. Fellow Queenslanders Jason Day and Adam Scott also posted 72 in Round 1.

In largely favourable conditions, 5-under 66 was the low mark of the day, local hope Tommy Fleetwood joining Amateur Champion Christo Lamprecht and Argentine Emiliano Grillo at the top of the leaderboard.

After an eagle at the par-5 15th and a great sand save for par a hole later, Herbert arrived at the 17th hole – just under 120 metres long but with a devilish small green surrounded by danger – at 3-under par and tied for the lead.

He dragged his tee shot left, into the light rough, but worse was to come when his chip raced across the putting surface into a deep, revetted bunker.

Shot number three from a tough lie, standing with one foot out of the bunker, left the Victorian still in the sand after it failed to climb the steep slope to the green and he ended making a triple-bogey six.

“I didn’t think I did a lot wrong on 17 to make six,” Herbert reflected.

“I’m not mad about it all. Obviously, I would like to change 17 but I felt I maybe hit a poor chip shot and that was about it.

“I don’t think I’ll be the only one to run up a big score there.”

Lee was concerned about doing just that when he found the pot bunker fronting the green on the ninth-hardest hole of the day.

The 24-year-old played his bunker shot to just outside seven feet and made his par, his confidence buoyed further with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th.

“I was in that front bunker and I’ve been telling everyone that bunker is probably the worst spot you can hit it in,” said Lee, whose only real misstep of the round was a double-bogey after hitting his second out-of-bounds at the par-4 third.

“Luckily it went a metre away from the lip and I actually got to hit it up and made my par.

“It’s a tough hole. It’s not easy. It’s only a wedge, but if you don’t strike it, then it gets tough.”

Smith began his championship defence with a blistering drive down the first but it would be an otherwise frustrating day of forgone fairways, the 29-year-old finding the short grass from the tee less than 36 per cent of the time.

“There are a couple of holes where it feels like you can’t hit the fairway, and it’s just awkward. It’s something I’m going to have to put up with,” Smith conceded.

“I hit a couple of good drives the last few holes there on 16 and 18. They both went into some fairway bunkers, and they were probably some of my best swings of the day.

“I think that sums up links golf, though, to be honest. Some of your best shots and best strikes end up in the worst positions.”

West Australian Haydn Barron was the best of the Open debutants from Australia, making birdie at the two par 3s on the back nine in his round of 3-over 74.

“I was crapping myself down the first,” admitted Barron, who qualified by virtue of his tie for fourth at the Australian Open.

“I miss-hit an 8-iron at 11 and it went in the deep rough and I made double. I guess that’s what happens at majors.

“Went double-bogey, bogey at 11 and 12 and then played really solid coming in. I think 12-18 is probably the toughest stretch on the course and I played that in a couple under.

“I’ve got all my first experiences in the books now and I’ll be better for it for the rest of my career now.”

Round 1 scores
T1           Christo Lamprecht (a)   66
T1           Tommy Fleetwood         66
T1           Emiliano Grillo               66
T32        Lucas Herbert                71
T32        Min Woo Lee                 71
T48        Jason Day                      72
T48        Adam Scott                     72
T48        Cameron Smith              72
T90        Haydn Barron                 74
T122      Harrison Crowe (a)         76
T122      Connor McKInney           76
T130      David Micheluzzi             77
T139      Ryan Fox (NZ)                78
T139      Daniel Hillier (NZ)           78
T139      Travis Smyth                  78

Round 2 tee times AEST
3.46pm                Daniel Hillier (NZ), Kyung Nam Kang, Kensei Hirata
4.19pm                Brendon Todd, Romain Langasque, Travis Smyth
4.41pm                Min Woo Lee, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Harrison Crowe (a)
5.14pm                Zach Johnson, Matt Wallace, David Micheluzzi
7.42pm                Guido Migliozzi, Oliver Wilson, Connor McKinney
8.58pm                Ryan Fox (NZ), Lucas Herbert, Byeong Hun An
11.04pm              Jordan Spieth, Matt Fitzpatrick, Jason Day
11.48pm              Scottie Scheffler, Tommy Fleetwood, Adam Scott
11.59pm              Cameron Smith, Xander Schauffele, Wyndham Clark
12.43am              Dan Bradbury, Oliver Farr, Haydn Barron

Live TV coverage
5am-7am Live From The Open (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)
3.30pm-5am Round 2 (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)

5am-7am Live From The Open (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)
7pm – 5am Round 3 (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)

5am-7am Live From The Open (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)
Final Round 6pm – 4am (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)

4am-6am Live From The Open (Fox Sports 505/Kayo)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *