ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — The Latest from the 144th British Open on the Old Course at St. Andrews (all times local):
Two years after winning his first British Open, Phil Mickelson looks like he’s ready to contend again for the claret jug.
Lefty opened with a 2-under 70 Thursday that was impressive in the tough afternoon conditions. He is five shots behind the leader, Dustin Johnson, who teed off when things were much calmer in the morning.
Like so many players, Mickelson bogeyed No. 17 — the infamous Road Hole — after a precise wedge gave him a chance to save par. He bounced back with a birdie at the final hole, giving him some momentum going into Friday.
Mickelson will likely be playing in tough conditions again with a morning tee time for the second round. The forecast calls for heavy showers but he’s not concerned, saying he plans to wear two gloves so he can keep a solid grip on his clubs.
Also, Mickelson expects the wind to be at his back on the outward nine, and the rain to taper off as he’s playing back toward the clubhouse, giving him a chance to put up another good score.
Let’s see if he’s as good a weatherman as he is a golfer.
The Road Hole is living up to its reputation as the Old Course’s toughest test.
With the opening round of the British Open winding down Thursday, the par-4 17th at St. Andrews has yet to surrender a birdie.
But it sure has produced a bunch of high numbers: 72 bogeys, 11 double-bogeys, two triple-bogeys, a quadruple-bogey for Shane Lowry, and worst of all — a 9 by Mark Calcavecchia.
No. 17 is the longest par-4 on the course at 495 yards. Making it even tougher is the blind tee shot over the Old Course Hotel and a dastardly pot bunker next to the green. Throw in a stiff breeze, and it was virtually impossible to reach the green with two shots late in the day.
Dustin Johnson is the leader at the British Open.
But let’s give some props to Zach Johnson and Danny Willett, who might’ve turned in the best rounds Thursday.
Playing in the afternoon, when the wind picked up considerably at St. Andrews and so did the scores, Johnson and Willett still managed to shoot 6-under 66, leaving them both just one shot off the lead.
Zach Johnson, winner of the 2007 Masters, had a shot at the top spot until he made his first bogey of the round at the tough 17th hole. He barely made the massive green with his approach shot, chipped up past the hole, and missed a 12-footer coming back to save par.
He bounded back with a birdie at the 18th.
Willett, a 27-year-old Englishman who plays on the European Tour, had an eagle at the par-4 10th and only one bogey on his card. He, too, closed with a birdie at the final hole to pull within one shot of Dustin Johnson.
Playing in the morning, when conditions were much calmer, the leader shot a 65.
With the wind picking up at the Old Course, scoring has gotten tougher for the afternoon players in the British Open.
American Zach Johnson made the biggest charge among those who teed off later Thursday, pushing his score to 6 under before his first bogey of the round — at the tough 17th hole — ended his hopes of catching leader Dustin Johnson.
Zach Johnson did bounce back with a birdie on the final hole to join the group at 6-under 66, one shot behind Dustin Johnson.
England’s Danny Willett is also at 5 under, along with British amateur Ashley Chesters. South Africa’s Branden Grace, Japan’s Koumei Oda, and American Daniel Berger are 4 under.
The amateurs have fared especially well on Day 1 at St. Andrews. Jordan Niebrugge of the U.S. shot a 67. Paul Dunne of Ireland and Romain Langasque of France were at 69, while American Ollie Schniederjans and England’s Paul Kinnear opened with 70s.
The director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency is pushing for golf to become fully compliant with the global drug-testing standards.
David Howman says he’s encouraged by comments made by R&A chief Peter Dawson on the eve of the British Open.
Dawson noted that stricter doping rules will go into effect 13 weeks ahead of next year’s games in Rio de Janeiro, where golf will make its return to the Olympic program. After that, he wants all tours to “move toward being wider compliant at all times.”
Howman says “no sport can be complacent on the doping issue,” and he’s hoping the Rio Olympics will spur the PGA Tour and other major organizations to adopt tougher guidelines.
He calls WADA’s system the “gold standard” and says it’s the best way to ensure “that clean athletes and the watching public can have full confidence in the anti-doping system.”
Everyone is turning into a weather forecaster at the British Open.
The conditions are dry and relatively calm for Thursday’s opening round on the Old Course, clearing the way for plenty of low scores.
But rain is expected to move in overnight, and forecasters say it could turn heavy during the early part of the second round Friday. Also, there’s a chance of increased winds, which is always the best defense for a links course.
Leader Dustin Johnson says “it was very important to get off to a good start and make as many birdies as you can, because the next couple of days are going to be very difficult.” He opened with a 7-under 65.
Jordan Spieth is just two shots off the pace and agrees with Johnson’s assessment. The Masters and U.S. Open champion expects “brutal” conditions for Day 2, which made it imperative to put up a low score in the opening round.
On Day 1 at the British Open, the leaderboard is filled with major championship winners.
Retief Goosen (66), Paul Lawrie (66), Jordan Spieth (67), Charl Schwartzel (67) and Louis Oosthuizen (67) are among those with at least one big title on their resumes. Former Masters champion Zach Johnson is also in the mix after playing the first 12 holes at 6 under, while 2006 U.S. Open winner Geoff Ogilvy is 5 under after a birdie at the 10th.
The leader is Dustin Johnson with a 7-under 65. He’s yet to win a major but has been in contention numerous times, including just last month when he had a 12-foot look to win the U.S. Open but wound up losing to Spieth with a three-putt. Jason Day (66) is another perennial contender in the majors still seeking his first title.
There are few surprises at the top, as well.
Robert Streb had never played in Europe before, but it didn’t stop the nondescript American from shooting a 66. Then there’s U.S. amateur Jordan Niebrugge, who took advantage of the prime scoring conditions to post 67.
Jordan Spieth has no complaints after the opening round of the British Open.
Trying to become the first modern golfer to win the Grand Slam, he’s off to a good start after shooting a 5-under 67 on Thursday.
Spieth says “the game plan was to get into position after round one, and that’s what we’ve done.”
He struggled a bit coming down the stretch, but rolled in a 20-footer for birdie at the final hole to get within two shots of leader Dustin Johnson.
Johnson, of course, had a chance to beat Spieth at the U.S. Open last month but three-putted from 12 feet at the final hole.
Spieth also won the Masters, giving him a shot at sweeping all four of golf’s biggest events in a calendar year. Going back to Augusta, he’s posted rounds of 64, 66, 70, 70, 68, 67, 71, 69 and 67 in the majors this year.
That said, Spieth calls it “premature” to talk about his chances of winning the Grand Slam. As he put it, “I can start talking about that if I win this.”
Tiger Woods has signed for his worst round as a professional at St. Andrews.
Woods shot an ugly 4-over 76 in the opening round of the British Open, failing to take advantage of the favorable scoring conditions Thursday. The tone was set right away when he dumped a wedge shot into the burn that runs in front of the first green, leading to the first of five bogeys.
He finally made his only birdie of the day at the par-5 14th, but he’ll go to the second round a daunting 11 shots behind the clubhouse leader, Dustin Johnson.
In other words, Woods’ main priority on Friday will be making the cut. That’s a far cry from his previous performances at St. Andrews, where he won the claret jug in 2000 and 2005.
Woods walked off the course tied for 133rd, having bested only two other players to complete their rounds.
After their memorable duel at Chambers Bay, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth are going for a repeat at the home of golf.
Johnson opened with a 7-under 65 to grab the lead at the British Open on Thursday. Spieth is just two shots back and in good shape to carry on his quest for an unprecedented Grand Slam.
Spieth made a couple of bogeys on the back side, stumbling at the 17th after finding the notorious Road Hole bunker. But he finished on a high, rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt at the final hole for a 67 that put him right in the thick of things after Day 1 at St. Andrews.
The 21-year-old Texan has already won the Masters and the U.S. Open, the latter when Johnson three-putted from 12 feet on the 72nd hole to lose by a stroke.
If Johnson is still bothered by that shocking loss, he sure didn’t show it. He made an eagle at the par-5 fifth and tacked on five birdies during a bogey-free round.
Retief Goosen has a pair of U.S. Open titles, but it’s been a while since he’s been in contention at a major.
The 46-year-old South African shot a 6-under 66 at the British Open on Thursday for a share of the clubhouse lead with Robert Streb. Not bad for a guy who hasn’t won a tournament since 2009 and had to go through qualifying just to make the field at St. Andrews.
This is Goosen’s first British Open appearance since 2012, when he finished 64th at Lytham. He bounced back from what he called a “silly” bogey at the third hole to match his lowest score ever in the championship.
When asked if his two major titles in America would help him this week, Goosen noted that it’s been “a long while” since he triumphed at Southern Hills (2001) and Shinnecock Hills (2004). He also knows there’s a long way to go at St. Andrews this week, but the opening round does give him a reason to be hopeful.
As Goosen says, “Maybe there is something good coming.”
With Jean van de Velde nowhere to be found, Paul Lawrie has surged into a share of the lead at the British Open.
Lawrie is at 7 under through 14 holes and tied for the top spot with Dustin Johnson.
The 46-year-old Scotsman is best known for his improbable Open victory at Carnoustie in 1999, when he rallied from 10 shots behind going into the final round to beat Van de Velde in a playoff. Of course, there wouldn’t have been a playoff if not for the Frenchman making a triple-bogey on the 72nd hole.
Lawrie hasn’t come close to winning another major since then, but he was giving the home crowd quite a thrill Thursday at St. Andrews.
The clubhouse leaders are Robert Streb and Retief Goosen, who both shot 6-under 66.
Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson have carried their memorable duel at Chambers Bay all the way to St. Andrews.
Spieth won the U.S. Open for his second major title of the year when Johnson three-putted from 12 feet at the final hole.
Johnson insisted before the British Open that he was over that bitter disappointment. Clearly, he wasn’t kidding, playing the first 12 holes on the Old Course at 6 under for a share of the lead with Spieth, Charl Schwartzel, Robert Streb and Retief Goosen.
Streb and Goosen are in the clubhouse with 66s. Spieth and Johnson are in the same group, leaving them with six holes still to play. Schwartzel is 6 under through the 14th.
Tiger Woods has won two of his British Open titles at the Old Course.
At the moment, it doesn’t even look like he’ll make it to the weekend at the British Open.
Woods is enduring another miserable round in a major championship, making the turn Thursday with an ugly 4-over 40 while most players are ripping up the course in prime scoring conditions.
Woods plunked his second shot of the day — a wedge at the inviting first hole — into the burn that runs in front of the green. That set the tone, as he bogeyed four of the first seven holes.
Of the 87 players on the course, 70 are at par or better. Then there’s Woods, who is only beating two other players, Kevin Streelman and Rod Pampling.
David Lingmerth started the British Open by tying a scoring record on the front nine.
He looked like a totally different player on the back side.
The Swedish golfer birdied the first four holes on the way to a 7-under 29 at the turn. That tied the best nine-hole score ever posted during an Open at St. Andrews, matching Tony Jacklin’s performance in 1970.
On the return leg, Lingmerth couldn’t keep it going. Not even close. He bogeyed the 11th, 14th and 15th holes, then took a double-bogey at the 17th after hitting his second shot into the infamous Road Hole bunker. Hitting out with his back to the flag, he wound up three-putting for a 6.
Lingmerth finally made another birdie at the 18th, leaving him with a 3-under 69 and three shots off the lead.
Robert Streb shot a 66, while Matt Jones and Greg Owen are both two shots back at 68. Amateur Paul Dunne matched Lingmerth with a 69.
Jordan Spieth is showing no signs of letting up after winning the Masters and the U.S. Open.
With his sights firmly on taking another step toward an unprecedented Grand Slam, the 21-year-old Texan birdied four of the first six holes Thursday to quickly claim a spot on the leaderboard.
Spieth is just two shots behind leader Robert Streb, who is 6 under and took over the top spot when David Lingmerth stumbled on the back side.
Lingmerth posted a 7-under 29 before the turn, only to bogey three of the next six holes.
While Spieth is keeping up his strong play, Tiger Woods is enduring another miserable day. He hit a simple wedge into the burn at the very first hole, leading to bogey. He made another bogey at the second, then got in all sorts of trouble on the way to yet another bogey at the par-5 fifth.
At 3 over, it looks as though Woods will again be hard-pressed just to make the cut in a major championship.
After a brilliant front nine, David Lingmerth is struggling on the return leg at St. Andrews.
The Swede birded the first four holes of the British Open and matched the lowest nine-hole score on the Old Course, making the turn Thursday with a 7-under 29. But the par-3 11th produced his first bogey, after he failed to get up-and-down from a pot bunker. An ugly chip at the par-5 14th failed to stay on the green, leading to another bogey.
Lingmerth is now tied for the lead at 5 under with American Robert Streb and another Swede, Carl Pettersson.
The amateurs are also faring well. Jordan Niebrugge is 4 under, with Paul Dunne and Ollie Schnierderjans another stroke back and inside the top 10.
Tiger Woods is off to another sluggish start at a major championship.
Woods made a sloppy bogey at the very first hole of the British Open after dunking a simple wedge into the burn running across the front of the green. He had to take a drop, chipped up near the hole and made the putt for a 5, essentially giving up two shots at an easy hole that produced a plethora of birdies in the early going.
For Woods, who has slipped to No. 241 in the world rankings, it’s the sixth time in his last eight majors that he’s started with a bogey on the first hole.
Then there’s Jordan Spieth, who already won the first two majors of the year and is trying to become the first player to win the modern version of the Grand Slam.
Spieth got off to another strong start, making birdies on the first two holes.
David Lingmerth shot 29 on the front side and is the leader at 6 under. American Robert Streb is one stroke back.
Jordan Spieth has picked up where he left off at the U.S. Open.
With his eyes on the Grand Slam, the 21-year-old Texan rolled in an 8-footer birdie at the very first hole of the British Open on Thursday.
Spieth already won the first two majors of the year and is trying to become the first modern player to sweep golf’s biggest events in a calendar year.
He’s not the only one going low at the Old Course on a morning with prime scoring conditions.
Sweden’s David Lingmerth matched the nine-hole St. Andrews scoring record with a 7-under 29 on the front side. The return leg is playing tougher, and Lingmerth made his first bogey of the round at the par-3 11th. He failed to get up-and-down after hitting his tee shot into a pot punker in front of the green.
Sweden’s David Lingmerth has matched the nine-hole St. Andrews scoring record with a 7-under 29 in the opening round.
On a morning for going low at the British Open, Lingmerth birdied the first four holes Thursday before settling for a par at the par-5 fifth. He added two more birdies at the sixth and seventh holes, then closed the front side with a 15-foot birdie at the ninth.
Lingmerth tied the Open record for the lowest nine-hole score on the Old Course, set by Tony Jacklin in 1970.
Denis Durnian still holds the mark for the lowest nine-hole score at any Open, shooting a 28 at Royal Birkdale in 1983.
David Lingmerth is ripping up the Old Course early in the first round of the British Open.
Taking advantage of prime scoring conditions, the 27-year-old Swede birdied the first four holes before finally taking a par at the par-5 fifth. He followed with two more birdies and is approaching the turn at 6 under.
If Lingmerth keeps up his strong play, he has a shot at the major scoring record of 63. He’s trying to add to his first PGA Tour victory, having won the Memorial back in early June.
It’s a morning for going low at the British Open.
Irish amateur Paul Dunne birdied the first two holes early Thursday. So did David Lingmerth of Sweden.
With temperatures in the mid-50s and little wind to speak of on a cloudy morning along St. Andrews Bay, the early starters should be able to put up some impressive scores.
That includes the favorite, Jordan Spieth, who is trying to take another step toward the Grand Slam.
Spieth tees off at 9:33 a.m., having already won the Masters and the U.S. Open.
With all eyes on Jordan Spieth’s quest for the Grand Slam, the British Open is underway on a cool, partly cloudy morning at the Old Course.
Englishman Greg Owen, playing in the first group, rolled in the first birdie of the tournament at No. 1 early Thursday. He was joined by Australian Rod Pampling and Irish amateur Paul Dunne, who both started with pars.
The bigger names will tee off later. Spieth, who already won the Masters and the U.S. Open, is scheduled to tee off at 9:33 a.m. in a group with fellow American Dustin Johnson and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.
Spieth won the second leg of the Grand Slam last month at Chambers Bay, taking the title when Johnson three-putted for 12 feet at the 72nd hole. No player had won the modern version of the Slam, which also includes the PGA Championship.
Spieth doesn’t have to worry about his chief rival. Defending champion Rory McIlroy is sitting out the British Open after injuring his ankle playing soccer with friends. Tiger Woods is another player who would’ve been considered a top contender, having won twice at St. Andrews. But he’s mired in a terrible slump and has slipped to No. 241 in the world rankings.
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