Round 1 Recap
After an intriguing first day’s play at The 147th Open at Carnoustie, the course showed that it would not be bullied into submission. The fairways were running so fast that many of the holes (on paper at least) looked to be open to attack. Sandy Lyle even went as far as to suggest a 63 or a 64 was on the cards.
“The course is there for the taking,” said the Champion Golfer of 1985 after a round of 75. This is a course with hidden dangers and wiles, however, and Lyle’s prediction was not to be. America’s Kevin Kisner threw down the gauntlet with a splendid morning round of 66 and then sat back and watched as others tried to chase him down. None did. Of the 156 starters, only 31 broke par.
What, one wonders, is likely to have been the subject of conversation around Kevin Kisner’s dinner table? He is sharing accommodation with Major winners Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Jason Dufner, and is likely to have compared notes on how best to play the course.
For Kisner’s part, he took the cautious, rather than the aggressive approach, and it paid fine dividends. Should he change tack in the second round? Almost certainly not.
Among those who tried to overpower the course by using a driver at every opportunity, there were contrasting fortunes for Brooks Koepka, the US Open champion, and Dustin Johnson, the world No.1.
Koepka drove the green at the 1st hole, but then proceeded to bogey and double bogey his way to an outward half of 41. Such is his talent, however, that he came home in 31, with five birdies, one bogey and three pars. Should he change tack in the second round? Almost certainly not (this, after all, is pure entertainment).
There is more of a dilemma for Johnson, who triple-bogeyed the 18th in a rollercoaster round of 76 that left him so far off the pace that he needs an excellent second round if he is to make the cut. Nothing is beyond him, though. Will he change tack? Almost certainly not.
A quartet of Major champions - Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Jason Dufner – all finished on four over par and will need to improve in the second round if they are to get through to the weekend. The top 70 players and ties after 36 holes play the last two rounds.
The battle for the Silver Medal as the leading amateur could come down to local favourite Sam Locke, who is being mentored by Paul Lawrie, Champion Golfer here in 1999, and Denmark’s Nicolai Hojgaard, both of whom had excellent rounds of 71.
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