The 150th Open started in style on Thursday, with the morning wave experiencing horrific conditions compared to those in the afternoon. The man who was able to occupy the old track in St Andrews most effectively was PGA Tour and Open debutante Cameron Young.
Signing an 8-under-64, Young is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Colin Morikawa, who lifted Clarett Jug on his debut last season at Royal St George’s. Young wasn’t the only contender to take advantage of minimal winds as Rory McIlroy, Cameron Smith, Victor Hovland and Xander Shaveli all rounded the cards in the red shapes.
While those who exited early in the old course were given a useful yard, that didn’t stop players in the afternoon from creating their own powerful rounds. Dustin Johnson, Scotty Schaeffler and Taylor Gotch all signed in rounds of 4 under 68 and sit in a tie for 4th before a stalemate from players in the 3 less including Bryson DeChambeau.
Winds are expected to remain relatively steady on Friday, but the direction from which they are blowing will change in the late afternoon. This may mitigate the advantage received by the morning wave today as players will encounter a new variant on a golf course full of their own.
Below is a breakdown of the leaderboard after the first round of the 150th Open.
2022 Open Championship leaderboard
1. Cameron Young (-8): It’s strange what a few weeks can do to one’s perception of a player. The rookie on the PGA Tour has been fantastic this season, finishing runner-up three times and in a tie for third in the PGA Championship, however this week he came after missing his last two pieces. He’s long and straight off the tee and credits Scotland a week early as the reason for his first-round success. By hitting all 18 greens in regulation for the first time in his career, Young couldn’t have picked a better time to do so as he was so flawless en route to an 8-under 64.
“I think it’s a very accurate representation of how I feel,” Young said regarding his less enthusiastic demeanor. “I’m glad I shot a 64. I’m glad, as far as I know, that I’m still leading the Open, but it won’t change how I feel an hour from now. I mean, how I feel on the first tee might change a little bit tomorrow, but I’ll forget about it pretty quickly. “.
2 – Rory McIlroy (-6): The last time McIlroy played an Open Championship at St. Andrews, he shot out of the gates to hit 9 under 63 players. This year,Matching a first-round effort from his 2014 championship win hasn’t been the issue for the Northern Irish in the major leagues this season; Instead, that’s what he did after opening 18. McIlroy entered this week as the bet of choice and stayed on top despite trailing Young by a pair.
“A great start. Just sort of what you hope will happen when you start your week,” said the four-time main champ. “I did everything it’s supposed to do around St. Andrews. I shaped the flyable holes, made cuts in the holes where I was kind of looking to equalize and go to the next tee. [I] I didn’t put myself out of the situation much. In general, really happy. It’s another good start in a major. Three in a row for me now. We look forward to the next few days.”
T3. Cameron Smith, Robert Dinwiddy (-5): The Australian has struggled with some regularity in the Masters, but outside of Augusta National, Smith has already struggled in the major tournaments. As he reached The Open in the top ten at the Scottish Open last week, Smith is drawing on past experience to push him into the competition. In a cycle where play, creativity, and lag are rewarded, Smith must love his chances of getting ahead.
“I think just by playing a few more times, to be honest. I think maybe at the beginning of my pro career I was trying to play a lot of the right shot rather than just sticking with the kind that I know,” Smith said of his learning curve of golf links. “I feel like I’m shooting more shots similar to what I would have done in the States, whereas before I thought of needing to try to get low because that’s what everyone said you had to do. And I think with humps and hollows, it becomes quite unpredictable which is something I learned it over the years.”
T5. Victor Hovland, Dustin Johnson, Scottie Sheffler, Lee Westwood and four others (-4): Hovland found himself not once but twice in a bunker without a stand. Taking an unplayable command in one instance and progressing sideways in the other, Hovland’s ability to come home and sign 4 under 68 is impressive. This is the kind of golf we have been expecting from the young Norwegian as he has yet to compete in a major tournament. Knowing that this moment would inevitably come in his career, it still seemed a bit surprising given his current form. Without finishing in the top 20 since the Players Championship, Hovland missed the cut in last week’s Scottish Open despite hitting the ball well. He carried that finesse into the opening round, and now it’s time to see if he can replicate it across the next 54 holes.
Hovland said of one of his bad breaks in bunkers. “And I made a great equaliser, say, in that hole today. Instead of letting it bother me too much, then try to go for a stupid shot to get back what I lost.”
T13. Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Shaveli, Joaquin Niemann and 11 others (-3): DeChambeau is certainly more surprising if not more than Hovland given his recent wrist injury and not playing much competitive golf in 2022. However, here he has a chance over the next three days in what would be a shocking victory despite knowing that could be his ceiling. Transforming himself from a mad scientist into a bomber, DeChambeau turns back the clocks and thinks to himself about the ancient path effectively. While that means his greatest asset – his driver – has been taken out of his hands, he’ll be fine with that if the results come out as they did in the first round.
“I’m here to win a golf tournament and I’m trying to focus on how to get the best result in the best four days,” Deschamps said. “It’s actually pretty simple: Once we get out, I go, ‘Okay, the driver is possible, but odds are you won’t hit him in the right lane every time and you’ll get nasty lies. “And on some pins, you can’t do that.”
T35. Jordan Spieth, Louis Ostijn, Hideki Matsuyama and 16 others (-1): Spieth seemed to be playing smart, risk-free golf on his opening round, stealth-free up front with two birds for a respectable 34; However, his card got busier in the back nine with three bogeys pushing him out of competition and into a place where he will have to go up on Friday to compete at the weekend. Spieth has the creativity and skill to succeed at St Andrews, and he will have every opportunity to prove it in his second round.
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