We look back at the opening round of The Open Championship and pick out five of the biggest talking points.
Lefty can still get it right
There weren’t too many backing Phil Mickelson for victory this week, but that has almost certainly changed after his record-breaking round on Thursday.
Mickelson’s scintillating 63 set a new course record at Royal Troon, and he even came within a whisker of an elusive 62 – the lowest ever round in a major – after seeing his 18-footer for birdie lip out on the last.
At 46, He leads by three shots on eight under, and is within sight of a second Open victory and a sixth major title. All good numbers for Lefty.
Oosthuizen still has the touch
Pulling off rare and incredible shots at major championships is nothing new for Louis Oosthuizen.
He did it in 2012 with the first-ever double eagle on Augusta’s second hole.
He did it again earlier this year in the final round of the Masters after his ball collided with his playing partner’s on the 16th green before rolling into the cup for a hole-in-one.
And now he has another ace, after getting it just right from the 14th tee.
We can’t wait to see what Louis does next.
It’s not all about the ‘Big Four’
With Dustin Johnson’s recent rise to prominence, golf’s ‘Big Three’ has become the ‘Big Four’, but Thursday at The Open didn’t really turn out to be about any of them.
Rory McIlroy fared best with a 69, but that still leaves him six shots back of Mickelson. Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson shot level-par 71s, while Jason Day had to settle for a two-over 73.
Don’t underestimate the Americans
Americans have a reputation for being less than comfortable on genuine links courses, and yet the record books beg to differ.
Granted, Royal Troon was unusually benign on Thursday, but the fact remains that seven of the top 10 players currently are American, 12 of the last 20 Open champions are American, and the last six winners at Troon? All American.
Forget Postage Stamp, watch out for The Railway
While the iconic Postage Stamp gets all the attention, it was Troon’s 11th hole that bared its teeth on the opening day.
Named ‘The Railway’ but known more affectionately as ‘The Bastard’, the hole played to a 4.70 scoring average on Thursday.
A long and treacherous par four with a blind tee shot, heavy gorse on both sides, and a railway on the right – though not for enough right – it is a frequent thorn in just about everyone’s side.
The wind usually adds to the difficulty, coming in from the left.
“Let’s be honest, that hole fits nobody’s eye,” said Bubba Watson.
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