THE OPEN / 8 things we learned from round one at Carnousite

Lightning fast fairways, deep bunkers and a Tiger Woods injury scare dominated round one of The Open at Carnoustie.

The Open Championship is always a pleasure to watch. It’s such a change to be watching golfers in two, three minds off the tees. to see golfers in the same group hitting approach shots from wildly different distances into greens, often in some wild, but still very much escapable rough.

Here are a few things we learned before settling in for round two.

1. The fairways are running faster than the greens at Carnoustie
Seriously, they are. The dry Scottish summer have the fairways are running a couple of feet faster on the stimpmeter than the greens at Carnoustie. Don’t believe me? See Sergio’s driver below. All 410-yards of it.

2. Tiger Woods’ neck is fine. We think.
The golf world went into a bit of a meltdown after Tiger Woods appeared on the practice range with some support tape on the back of his neck. With Woods’ history of back problems, golf fans started to wonder if this was yet another injury to the 14-time major winner returning to The Open for the first time since 2015.

A birdie on the first hole, a reasonably solid even par round and some words of explanation from Woods after the round has us thinking that everything is fine. So far anyway.

3. Cameron Davis has the determination to grind out a great Open
Australian Cameron Davis chipped in for birdie at the fourth hole and looked to make a run up the leaderboard but Carnoustie has a bite to it. A bogey, followed by a double-bogey at the turn has Davis under the pump. But the 23-year-old Australian Open champ turned out three birdies in his final six holes to get back to even par and set himself up for great Open Championship.

4. Jordan Spieth had a “brain fart” but could still win The Open
Through 14 holes, defending Open champion Jordan Spieth was 3-under par and looking every bit like a back-to-back Open winner. One hour later Spieth had turned in a 1-over par round with the golf ball finding all parts of the final four holes at Carnoustie, largely because of a “brain fart” that led to a double-bogey at the 15th hole.

Somehow Spieth ground out a 1-over par round of golf. If he gets his game together overnight, Spieth could easily go back-to-back.

5. Bunkers are proper hazards at The Open
Watching the PGA Tour week-in and week-out, you could be forgiven for thinking that bunkers are places the pros quite like their golf ball to finish. Perfectly raked sand with easy to navigate faces, bunkers are a long way from the hazards they were originally designed to be.

Fast forward to the 2018 Open at Carnoustie and we all get a reminder of what bunkers should be. A place to avoid no matter what the circumstances.

6. Marc Leishman shows how quickly golf gives, and takes
Marc Leishman was on fire early in his round. Ten putts and four birdies had Leishman 4-under par through eight holes. But a bad putt on the 9th led to a bogey. A shot into the burn saw a  double-bogey at the 10th and things began to unravel.

Leishman finished the day at 1-over par, six shots behind Kisner. By no means out of the tournament, Leishman will need to quickly put the back nine behind him and come out firing again on Friday.

7. The putter is your friend at Carnoustie
We’re often amazed how often amateur golfers refuse to use the putter from off the green. Well make sure you’re all watching The Open this weekend to see just how well the short stick can perform when you have a smooth surface in front of you.

8. Birdies are cooler when you don’t use your putter at all
Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat came up with easily the best shot of the day when he holed his approach shot at the par-4 17th hole. One bounce and in.

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