Let’s take a look at some of the winners and losers after the first round of the 2014 British Open.
McIlroy was superb on the opening day at Royal Liverpool. A bogey-free 6-under par 66 gave the Northern Irishman a one stroke lead – thanks largely to a sublime short game. For all the power Rory has in his game, his deft touch around the greens were a pleasure to watch. McIlroy now faces the dreaded Friday round. In his last three starts McIlroy has shot low opening rounds only to card 78 second rounds on Friday.
Matt Jones went out a loser and came in a winner in his first ever Open Championship. Jones found himself four-over the card through three holes courtesy of consecutive double-bogeys on the second and third holes. A birdie at the eighth settled the New South Welshman before three consecutive birdies through hole 10 – 12 had him back to even par. A bogey at 17 didn’t deter Jones who holed out from the bunker on one leg at 18 get himself into the red numbers going into round two.
Despite a horrible missed birdie putt on the opening hole that didn’t even touch the hole, Scotty carded a fine four-under par 68 to sit two shots behind McIlroy. Scott hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation and finished with 29 putts. More of that and he’ll be eyeing off the Claret Jug on Sunday.
Woods opened his round with two bogeys and had the haters saying “I told you so!”, but Woods steadied the ship and rattled off six birdies in his round to end the day at 3-under par – his best start to a major since he shot the same score and the 2012 US PGA Championship.
A jinx on Ernie, Bubba and Phil
Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson have 11 majors between them but the group combined for a score of 11-over par for the first round. Mickelson found the internal out-of-bounds on the 18th hole to finish 2-over, Bubba came close to complaining about the closeness of the galleries after his 4-over par and Ernie claimed he had jinxed the group after hitting a spectator on the first hole.
Crane flew all the way to England as the first alternate in the field and was hoping someone would drop out so he could tee it up. No one did.
Justin Rose’s caddie
Despite shooting an even oar round 72, Rose played the first two holes without his driver. His caddie was supposed to ship off two drivers to his friends and mistakingly sent Rose’s instead. Rose didn’t really need driver until the seventh hole and but ti took until the third hole for the driver whoich had gone 300km south was returned to Rose. “It was a bit of a comedic start to the day, no doubt,” said Rose.
The long hitting Swede is prone to outbursts on the golf course and he did himself no favours when he snapped a golf club across his knees late in his round.
The spectator Ernie hit
A sunny day out at The Open turned sour for one golf fan when Ernie Els’ opening drive hit him in the face. Els was clearly shaken by the whole thing stating later that “there was blood everywhere”, and three-putted from inside two feet moments after.
Aussie Macpherson has been looking forward to his first Open Championship as a professional ever since he qualified at the Australian Open last November. But things didn’t work out so well. The 20-year-old’s round included five double-bogeys that contributed to a round of 18-over par. Eight strokes more than anyone else in the field.