Mixed fortunes for Lingmerth

Lingmerth, who defeated Justin Rose in a play-off in the Memorial Tournament last month to win his first PGA Tour title, birdied the first four holes at St Andrews and picked up further shots on the sixth, seventh and ninth as he took full advantage of the benign morning conditions on the East Neuk of Fife.

That equalled the record of 29 for the front nine on the Old Course – shared by Tony Jacklin (1970), Ian Baker-Finch and Paul Broadhurst (both 1990) – which brought the first sub-63 round in major championship history within range.

However, those reaching for the record books were soon put at ease as the 27-year-old dropped shots on the 11th, 14th and 15th and ran up a double bogey on the 17th, after finding the Road Hole bunker, to cover the back nine in 40 for an opening 69.

Lingmerth said: “I did not know about the record, it’s a pretty special feeling. I got off to a great start there, obviously. I made some putts in the beginning. I got two really long ones to go on number two and number four. They were kind of bonuses, I guess, but kept on giving myself opportunities??throughout that front nine.

“I didn’t make birdie on number five (the par five) which is probably the easiest hole on the front, and even on number eight I hit a good tee shot and had about a 25, 30-footer for birdie, but it looked like it was going in and just barely broke out in the last second there. But nice to get another 20-footer or so on the last (ninth) for a 29.

“I was obviously feeling really good and trying not to think too much. I felt good on the back, too, just in links golf you can miss 30 yards one way and be fine, and if you miss three feet the wrong way, you’re in big trouble, and that’s kind of what happened to me.

“I’m definitely learning as I go, and I definitely learned the hard way on the back today. I’m not quite used to links golf. I like it a lot, but definitely still learning out here.”

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