From DJ and Sergio’s Van de Velde moments to Paul Lawrie’s protege and Rory’s wacky shoes, here are 10 things you may have missed from day one at The Open.
You’ve probably already heard about Jhonattan Vegas needing a helicopter to make his tee time, but there were plenty of other weird and wonderful stories on day one of The Open.
1. DJ’s ‘Van de Velde’ moment
Dustin Johnson must have been watching re-runs of the 1999 Open. Either that or he got some dodgy advice off Jean van de Velde, who’s doing on-course commentary this week. Whatever the reason, DJ took a triple-bogey SEVEN on the 18th hole to finish with a 76 and tie the worst first-round score by a world No.1 in Open history. It could have been even worse, had he not escaped with a miraculous par on the par-5 6th after hitting his tee shot out of bounds. No matter, though, as he hit his second drive 412 yards and got up and down from the fairway. It’s just a shame he couldn’t repeat the feat on the 18th when his ball went walkabouts beyond the white posts.
2. No 2011 repeat for Darren
If you backed Darren Clarke this week, you might want to look away now. The only thing he might be winning is the worst 18-hole score, after ending the day propping up the leaderboard on 11-over-par. His ‘colourful’ scorecard included four double bogeys, five bogeys and just two birdies (on both par fives). The 2011 champion said: “It was one of the worst ball striking days I’ve ever had.”
3. Kisner’s top of the charts
The secret to Kevin Kisner’s five-under-par, 66? His putting. He needed just one putt on 12 greens, and finished with a total of 22 to take the first-round lead. Not bad considering he’s missed three of his last six cuts, with his best finish (tied 52nd) coming at the Fort Worth Invitational.
4. Southgate’s feeling right at home
Matthew Southgate happens to be a member at Carnoustie, and it showed as he made mincemeat of the two par fives (No.6 and No.14) and walked off with eagles on both. He did so minus a waistcoat, despite fans clamoring for him to wear one in ‘honour’ of his namesake.
5. Stone swans off to St Andrews
After shooting a 68 at Carnoustie in the morning, Brandon Stone drove down to St Andrews in the afternoon and played the Old Course with a set of hickory clubs. The perks of being a professional golfer.
6. Sergio’s water problems
Sergio Garcia endured a horror run of four straight bogeys around the turn, which included playing a shot from the Barry Burn. After watching his drive bound 410 yards down the fairway and into the stream on the 10thhe elected to splash it out – fully clothed and with his shoes on – to save himself a penalty. Amazingly, he managed to find dry land, but needed another three shots to get down which rather put a dampener on things. On the plus side, his round of 75 was still 14 shots better than he shot back in 1999 as a 19-year-old. Silver lining and all that.
7. Phil’s left frazzled, and not for the first time
For a man who’s won five Majors, including one Claret Jug, you’d think Phil Mickelson would fancy his chances at Carnoustie. The reality, though, is that’s he’s yet to break par on the Championship course in his last three visits. He’s also never made the cut, and now faces a battle to do so after finishing on two-over-par.
8. Rory and friends turn nasty
Rory McIlroy and a whole bunch of guys sponsored by Nike are rocking a new pair of shoes this week, which are personalised with the word ‘Nasty’ on the sole. Whether it’s a new mantra or a nod to Carnoustie’s nickname, they’re certainly eye catching. A bit like these corkers being worn from Bubba Watson.
9. Locke looks to emulate mentor Lawrie
Sam Locke, remember him? The local lad and amateur is a protegee of Paul Lawrie and took time out from working in the coffee shop at Lawrie’s Academy in Aberdeen by tying Nicolai Hojgaard as the leading amateur on one-over-par. The 19-year-old, who hails from Stonehaven Golf Club, finished with a birdie to match the scores of Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth and Tommy Fleetwood.
10. Spieth blasts “boring” greens
Jordan Spieth’s love affair with The Open has hit the rocks. Going along nicely on three-under-par with just four holes to go, he finished double bogey, bogey, par, bogey to start his Open defence with a 72. He later took aim at the greens, labelling them “flat” and “boring”.
Your numbers up
Danny Willett’s opening round 69 was his first under par in a Major since winning the 2016 Masters.
Eagles were recorded on Hogan’s Alley (No.6), just one less than in 2007 across all four rounds. The scoring average of 4.59 made it the second easiest hole on the course (behind the 14th). Just eight bogeys and two doubles were recorded all day.
The afternoon starters definitely got the bum end of the draw. Of the last 12 groups, no player finished under par.
Justin Thomas’ best finish in an Open to date. He’s currently tied 8th on two-under-par.
Tiger’s front nine score of 33 was his best in a Major for five years.
Brooks Koepka’s front and back nine scores were seperated by 10 strokes and left him on one-over-par.
With a scoring average of 3.46, the par-3 16th ranked as the hardest hole, yielding just four birdies and a whopping 60 bogeys.