Skip to main content
The 151st Open

The 151st Open


Five things to watch on Friday

Crowds flock around the 15th tee on the first day of The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool

Hometown heroes. Inspired amateurs. Returning favourites. The opening day of The 151st Open brought with it the usual share of unpredictability and drama.

On what may turn out to be the brightest, calmest day of competition weather-wise, three players ended the day in a share of the lead on five-under-par with a vast array of talent wedged not too far behind.

With that in mind, here are the key factors to keep an eye on across Friday’s play…

Can Christo keep it going?

The biggest surprise of the day came courtesy of Christo Lamprecht, who recovered from being one of many players to go a long way left off the 1st tee to build a superb round.

His par save on the opening hole was added to by three birdies on the front nine and another four down the back, with bogeys at 11 and 16 the only blemishes on his card.

Keeping this form going will be a tall order for the 6ft 8in Amateur Champion but if the drives remain as booming as they did on Thursday, peaking at 363 yards, he will fancy his chances of remaining in contention.

Of his rivals in the race for the Silver Medal, Alex Maguire is on +1 with Jose Ballester Barrio a shot further back. Harrison Crowe (+5), Tiger Christensen (+6) and Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira (+6) have work to do if they are to make the weekend.

Who will continue the home challenge?

Tommy Fleetwood spoke on Wednesday about having visualised winning The Open on home soil “a million times.”

Tommy Fleetwood smiles during his first round at The 151st Open

A few more can probably be added to that tally after this start, with Fleetwood flying out the traps and joining Lamprecht in carding a 66.

He motored down the back nine, with three consecutive birdies between 14 and 16, and this performance will swell the numbers set to follow him tomorrow yet further.

Royal Liverpool member Matthew Jordan, who got this year’s Championship underway, is the next highest-placed Englishman on -2, with Richard Bland (-1) and Oliver Wilson (-1) also in the red.

How will the last play?

Much of the talk in the build-up surrounded the final two holes, with the internal out of bounds to the right of the 18th fairway one of the more intriguing subplots.

It was not to everyone’s taste – Taichi Kho carded a 10 while Rickie Fowler twice found the danger zone en route to an 8 – but plenty were able to pick up shots on the last and end their rounds on a high.

Of the 12 players to end -3 or better, seven birdied the 18th and success there will be pivotal again on Friday.

McIlroy and Hovland look to build on momentum

Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland made up the final pairing at St Andrews last year but will have to battle their way through the field this time around.

They were in adjacent groups on the opening day and both recovered from slow starts to inject much-needed momentum into their rounds down the back nine.

McIlroy peeled off consecutive birdies at 14 and 15 before a fantastic par save at 18, when he needed two attempts to escape a greenside bunker, while Hovland picked up three shots down the back nine to end -1.

Both are capable of the sort of magic round which would put them right in contention going into the weekend and will hope it arrives on Friday.

Which big names will miss the cut?

It is an annual conversation on day two and this year will be no different.

With not much between so much of the leaderboard, several players will be hoping for better fortunes in the second round as they aim to ensure they make the weekend. Two-time Champion Padraig Harrington is among a group of big names on +3, including Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau.

More From The 151st Open