Early starters the winners on day one at St Andrews

By Ron Furlong
john dalyJohn Daly (Photo: Keith Allison)
St Andrews' low winds equated into low scores during the first round of the British Open

john daly

The old lady had no bite on Thursday, at least not until later in the day. St Andrews’ low winds equated into low scores during the first round of the British Open.

The earlier your tee time on Thursday, the better chance you had of posting a low score. Several players took advantage of the morning tee times, including Rory McIlroy, who posted the low round of day one with a 63, and former winner at St Andrews John Daly, who shot a 66.

Daly won at St Andrews 15 years ago, but has won little since then. In the press room after the game he admitted it is just a special golf course for him.

“It’s a golf course, I don’t know,” he said. “I just love it. I don’t know why. It suits my game. Just a special, special place.”

McIlroy’s 63, which included six birdies on the back nine, tied a record for a low score at a major, which has been done several times. The 21-year-old from Northern Ireland seemed cool and confident.

“I didn’t get off to a flying start,” McIlroy said. “The eagle on nine really sort of turned things around for me, and I just got going from there. It was great to get into the rhythm of the round and get into a flow. And yeah, it was a very pleasant round of golf.”

McIlroy leads at nine under, followed by Louis Oosthizen at seven under, then Daly, Andrew Coltart, Peter Hanson and Bradley Dredge all at six under. One of several golfers at five under was one Tiger Woods.

Woods has won the two previous opens at St Andrews, in 2000 and 2005, and seemed comfortable on Thursday. Woods’ strong round ended a bit of a sour note, with his only bogey of the day on the road hole number 17, and a short birdie putt missed on 18.

“I let the round mature,” Woods said. “Most of the guys were under early. Even though I wasn’t, I said, ‘Just let the round mature, just keep hanging in there and keep plugging along.’ And it could have been a pretty good round today.”

Those who went out later in the day, when the winds picked up a bit, for the most part did not fare as well. A good example of was the world number two, Phil Mickelson, who shot a 73 and is in danger of missing the cut going into round two.

Mickelson, visibly upset, skipped the interviews and the press conference after the round.

Day two at The Open figures to have a little more bite than day one. Surely the grand old lady can’t stay so serene for a second day in a row?

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