Pampling Gets The Open Underway
Rodney Pampling is a man who could be forgiven for treating any questions about The Open Championship with some trepidation.
The 45 year-old Australian is famous as the player who missed the cut having led the Championship after the first round at Carnoustie in 1999, but henceforth he will also go in the records as the man who started the proceedings at The 144TH Open Championship at St Andrews.
Under a grey sky and with barely a hint of a breeze in the air Pampling ripped a long iron straight down the middle and then fired a wedge into 15-feet from where he secured his regulation par. Playing partner Greg Owen went one better when he backed up his approach to 4-feet and holed out for a birdie but the third member of the trio, Thomas Bjorn, would have been forgiven for muttering under his breath after missing his own birdie opportunity from one foot closer.
The Pampling group were the first of 52 to set out today on the Old Course with the last – comprising Japan’s Taichi Teshima, Sweden’s Rikard Karlberg and Robert Dinwiddie from England - not setting foot on the sacred turf until 4.30 this evening.
The day promises much as the leading players jockey themselves into position to have a chance to challenge for the Claret Jug over the weekend.
This year marks the 29TH time The Open has been staged at The Old Course since back in 1873 when Tom Kidd took the title. Altogether Americans have won ten times at the home of golf, Scotsmen nine, Englishmen four, Australians twice, South Africans twice and Spaniard once. The race has started to find their successor and it remains to be seen who will play the leading roles.