Overnight leader Adam Scott made the most of the perfect conditions yesterday recording 8 birdies on his way to a 6-under-par 64. That helped him to top the field for the most birdies scored closely followed by Zach Johnson (7) who holds a share of second position with Paul Lawrie and Nicolas Colsaerts on five under par.
It was a certain Tiger Woods who lead the ranks for Driving Accuracy. He missed only one fairway and that was a on the Par-5 15th when he had to hack out of the thick rough and dropped his only shot of the day. Woods would appear to be in excellent form. He said in his post-round interview that he was hitting his shots to certain spots on the course and it seems to be working because he was also ranked 4th in Greens in Regulation with an average of hit 83%. However he did need 30 putts over the course of the round which suggests he has some work to do in that area at least.
The putting ranks were topped by Scotland’s Paul Lawrie who used his putter just 23 times over the first 18 holes. That stat was helped by the fact he had 2 chip-ins and also holed a putt from off the green on the way to an impressive opening 65. At the other end of the scale Brandt Snedeker struggled on the greens. He is usually known as a fine putter but yesterday he was ranked a lowly 110th in the field with 31 putts although that did not stop him finishing 4-under-par in outright 5th place.
Perhaps the most surprising statistic of the day came in the Driving Distance tables. Forget the likes of Bubba Watson, Gary Woodland, Alvaro Quiros and Dustin Johnson… it was Padraig Harrington who finished top of the rankings with an average 328 yards off the tee, including a 355-yard drive on the 7th – the longest of the day. For a man that currently ranks 119th on The PGA TOUR in driving distance that is some feat and suggests he is starting to hit the ball like he did when he was winning Majors a few years ago.
On a day where the whole field broke the 80 mark for the first time since 1998 at Royal Birkdale, 426 birdies were collected, with the back 9 proving statistically easier than the front, a trend that has not really been seen before at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
This is most likely down to the course changes on the outward holes, where the 6th hole (pictured left) has changed from a par-5 to a par-4 this year and was not surprisingly ranked as the hardest hole on the course with an average stroke rating of 4.538. The easiest hole was the par-5 7th, which despite being lengthened by 35 yards had a sub-par stroke average of 4.756 with 5 eagles and 51 birdies.
Although stats are not everything, they do not lie, and throughout the Championship will give an insight into what makes up an Open Championship winner.