The Open Championship: Thoughts and Recap of Day 1
The first round of the 148th edition of The Open Championship is done and dusted, so let’s look back at what transpired. The event was well worth the wait for the patrons in County Antrim, Northern Ireland after a sixty-eight-year absence since hosting this major. J.B. Holmes enjoys the eighteen-hole lead, trying for his major at the age of thirty-seven. His scorecard included six birdies and one bogey at Royal Portrush. He sets his eyes towards what he hopes will be his second major. There was a cluster of players just two shots back of Holmes, including Brooks Koepka, who is scheduled to begin his second round Friday morning just after eight local time.
As with any major tournament, there are breakout performances as well as disappointments. Twenty-two-year-old Robert MacIntyre of Scotland playing in his first Open Championship shot a 68 Thursday. He spearheaded his round by making eagle at the par-four fifth. He goes out early in the afternoon in day two. Another name to become familiar with is Dylan Frittelli. He hails from South Africa. He missed the cut the last two Opens, but the seven-year professional sits tied for third.
Regarding the players that left more to be desired, that list included Rory McIlroy. At the start, he hit his tee shot in the thick grass, perhaps the effect of the unavoidable pressure that comes with playing close to home. He had to take a drop on his initial hole, eventually making a quadruple bogey. However, to his credit, he bounced back with two birdies on the front nine. He finished with a 79 after a double-bogey at sixteen followed by a seven at the par-four eighteenth. Tiger Woods had has round undone by shooting four over on holes five through seven. He is twelve back of the leader at +7. Phil Mickelson hit just half of his fairways and greens in regulation. He did not have one hole where he posted a really big number, but too many bogeys on his card left him five over for the tournament.
I enjoy this tournament because of the element of surprise. Weather conditions can play a role in it. Scoring is good if it is a nice day, but it can feel like a U.S. Open tournament if wind and rain come into play. My pick will be Tommy Fleetwood of England to win this weekend. He is in the mix. Brooks Koepka will have his day to win the Claret Jug in the future, but it will not be this year. Shane Lowry, one off the lead is from the Republic of Ireland, will be interesting to watch with the crowds backing him.
Another story of interest to me is Jordan Spieth of Dallas, Texas. He finished at one-under-par, trying to get back to the level he had in 2015, where he bagged two majors and was in contention at Royal St. Andrews and the PGA Championship. He has struggled of late, so I would like to see him have a good weekend. Nonetheless, it would be a stepping stone towards getting his game back at an elite level again.
Did you get a chance to watch day one of The Open Championship? Leave a comment below.
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Works cited: Golf Channel telecast, https://www.theopen.com/leaderboard, https://www.theopen.com/players/robert-macintyre, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Portrush_Golf_Club