Rory McIlroy enjoyed almost the perfect opening round to his Open. The 2014 Champion Golfer of the Year carded 6-under-66. Three consecutive birdies from hole 5 to hole 7 took the four-time major winner to four under before a lull on the 9th and 10th. But birdies on the 14th and 18th will have left the Northern Irishman feeling satisfied with his day’s work. The 33-year-old has often struggled to start well at major championships, but he has got his Open off to a flyer.
World number one Scottie Scheffler turned in a 4 under and found himself just four strokes off leader Cameron Young. Scheffler has come to St Andrews without much expectation from fans and seemed to enjoy the freedom to play his game. Leader Young carded seven birdies across 12 holes but missed putts at the 14th and 15th holes that would have seen him card at 9 under par.
Cameron Smith appeared to suffer with knee issues but didn’t let the injury stop him from notching his best ever Open first round. The Australian finished the day third on the leaderboard, as he looks to improve on his third place at this year’s Master’s and 13th at the PGA Championship. Smith finished five under to stand himself in great stead for a real showing at St Andrews.
The world of golf has been highly critical of those players taking part in the LIV Golf Series, and Ian Poulter received plenty of that criticism first-hand at St Andrews. He was heartily booed by golf devotees, though even the most hard-hearted loyalist could not resist cheering the 46-year-old when he sunk a huge 160-foot putt to notch the Open’s first eagle of the year. Poulter briefly led off the back of it, and ended on three under.
At press time Tiger Woods was five over through hole 11. A typically smooth tee shot got the legendary American off to a great start but a bungled follow-up put him a shot over after the first hole. After parring the second he lost a shot each on holes 3 and 4. He ended up six over through hole 7 and 8 but chipped away at the deficit. The 46-year-old was walking gingerly at times, as is to be expected after the traumatic injuries he has suffered. But there were flashes of Woods' best on display through the pain.
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change