The 149th Open is under way.
Two years on from Shane Lowry’s masterclass at Royal Portrush, The Open Championship is back with a bang at Royal St George’s.
Richard Bland got the Championship under way at 6.35am on Thursday after being given the honour of hitting the first tee shot.
Bland, playing in a group with fellow Englishmen Andy Sullivan and Marcus Armitage, crunched the ball down the fairway on the Sandwich course’s notoriously difficult 1st hole.
The 48-year-old was handed the distinction of getting The Open underway after a remarkable few months that saw him become the European Tour’s oldest first-time winner, at the 478th time of asking, by claiming victory at the Betfred British Masters.
He followed that up by co-leading at the halfway stage of the US Open – his first major appearance in four years, and just the fourth of his 25-year professional career – in June.
While Bland, Sullivan and Armitage get things underway, there are plenty of big names heading out at Royal St George’s across the course of the morning.
You can see all the tee times by clicking here but some highlights include English contenders Paul Casey and Ian Poulter starting at 7.52am, four-time major winner Brooks Koepka in a group at 8.03am and 2011 Champion Golfer at this very course, Darren Clarke off at 8.25am.
At 9.25am, 2017 Champion Golfer Jordan Spieth and major winner Bryson DeChambeau tee off alongside South Africa’s Branden Grace – who played Rounds 1 and 2 alongside the eventual Open Champion in both 2018 and 2019 – in one of TheOpen.com’s featured groups.
And reigning Champion Golfer of the Year Shane Lowry will get his title defence underway at 9.58am in a group with US Open champion Jon Rahm and 2010 Champion Golfer Louis Oosthuizen.