The Open Championship: 1st Round Recap


Jul 16, 2015; St. Andrews, Scotland, SCT; Fans gather along the 18th hole to watch during the first round for the 144th Open Championship at St. Andrews – Old Course. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The first leg of the The Open Championship is in the books, and some interesting storylines are developing. Dustin Johnson rebounded nicely from his devastating loss at Chambers Bay, and sits in sole possession of first place. Tiger Woods struggled, amateurs shined, and the Road Hole lived up to its reputation. With rain in the forecast virtually all tournament, expect the greens to be more receptive than usual. The scores on the first day definitely reflected this trend.

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Dustin Johnson shot a 7 under par, 65 in his opening round at St. Andrews. Johnson drove the ball in spectacular fashion, both in distance and accuracy. His Achilles heel has always been the putter, as evidenced by his 3-putt collapse at Chambers Bay. But when Johnson sunk 10 and 15 foot par putts on the 16th and 17th holes, he sent chills down the spines of his competitors. If DJ combines an above average putting performance with his power game, he’ll be tough to beat in Scotland.

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  • Tiger Woods shot the worst opening round at St. Andrews of his professional career on Thursday. He carded a 4 over par 76 and couldn’t buy a birdie. In a tournament when the field average was somewhere in the 70’s, Tiger hit 56% of the fairways ( on the Old Course. Missed fairways in links golf mean bogies or worse on your scorecard. Expect Tiger to be a spectator for the weekend.

    The famed Road Hole at St. Andrews is arguably the most difficult par 4 on the planet. Thursday’s weather produced soggy fairways, which decreased the roll on players drives. This “added distance” to the already daunting 495 yard hole resulted in NO birdies being carded. It’s an iconic hole, and pretty beautiful to look at. But I don’t envy the man standing over a golf ball on 17 at St. Andrews. (Well maybe a little…)

    Perhaps the most interesting story to be had from Thursdays opening round is the success of the amateurs in the field. Six amateurs shot rounds under par, including a record-setting performance by American Jordan Niebrugge. The 21 year old, Oklahoma State Cowboy shot a 5 under, 67 in only his second appearance in a major. His round is the lowest ever by an amateur at St. Andrews.

    Fellow amateurs Paul Dunne and Romain Langasque weren’t far behind with impressive rounds of 68 each. All of them had the luxury of playing in the early groups on Thursday, and low scores were common. We’ll see if these young men (I feel so old saying that), can maintain composure when the tee times are flipped on Friday.

    Everyone loves an underdog, and the success of these amateurs must have sports writers and editors drooling around the world. With a soggy forecast predicted for most of The Open, some of the spunk could be taken out of the normally fast greens at St. Andrews. This might be all the opportunity a Jordan needs to capture a title. And his last name might not even be Spieth.

    Next: It's Becoming Hard to Watch Tiger Woods