Proud Lyle relieved to see first tee shot find its mark
Hitting the first shot of The 147th Open has weighed heavily on Sandy Lyle’s mind but the 1985 Champion Golfer admits he got an adrenaline kick when it he saw land safely on the first fairway.
With his exemption up after this year’s tournament, this is possibly Lyle’s last Open and he was given the honour of getting things underway at Carnoustie – alongside Martin Kaymer and Andy Sullivan.
And the 60-year-old nailed it, with a roar from a large crowd his four iron down the middle of the fairway.
“I was hoping I might get away with 20 people and 15 of them being my family but it was great. I think it was 80 per cent full on the first hole so I was very impressed,” he said.
“I was nervous last night, never mind this morning. I woke up at 1am with one eye on the alarm clock and then the mind starts to go about the opening shot.
“It was playing docile though, so it was a nice way to have the tee shot of The Open. It went a lot smoother than I thought it was going to be.
“I had a four iron with some draw on it and an eight iron second shot. The first few holes went well and I was very happy at the turn.
“But I got into a few bunkers on the back nine so it is a disappointing 75 but I have tomorrow to go out and see if I can have a chance.”
Lyle made a steady start and was one-under through the front nine but a double bogey at 13 sparked a disappointing back nine and he eventually finished four-over par.
“Mentally, you have to be very careful with what clubs you choose and when you choose them. I have always said this is a wearing golf course on the mental side. Is it an iron? Can I hit driver? And if you guess correctly it feels good, if not you curse yourself,” he added.
“I have been in a few of those bunkers, I think five on the back nine and it has worn me out a little bit.
“I was debating between clubs when I had the double bogey. I was here a month ago and played that hole for two hours and never missed the green.
“I thought it would be easy but the yardage dictated an eight iron. I hit it and pulled it into the bunker, but it was buried and I caught the lip on the way down. That’s what can happen.”
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