Scott fires course record for Open lead
Adam Scott had his chance to create history by recording the lowest round at a major but settled for a course-record equalling 6-under 64 and a stroke lead over Paul Lawrie, Zach Johnson and Nicolas Colsaerts at The Open Championship at Royal Lytham.
The 31-year-old Australian, seen as one of the best players not to have won a major title, came to the 18th hole at Royal Lytham needing a birdie to become the first player in the long history of the majors to record a 62.
Adam Scott celebrates a birdie putt on the 15th hole during the first round of the 141st Open Championship (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
A wayward iron off the tee into the rough cost Scott his chances of a place in majors history yet the Aussie was thrilled never the less with his lowest round at a major.
“I’m very pleased with the start, obviously,” said the world number 13.
“It was surprising but very pleasing to go out and play some solid golf. It’s what I haven’t done the first rounds of the majors this year, and that was my goal here, really, starting the week was to play today like it was Sunday and there was no tomorrow.”
With 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie and American 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson nipping at Scott’s heals, anything can unfold during the next three rounds, especially at The Open.
“I’m sure there’s going to be some weather elements thrown at us the next three days,” says Scott.
“So just going to have to knuckle down to handle that. But I’m confident. My ball‑striking is good. I think I can get it around no matter what the conditions are.”
Challenges will be coming thick and fast.
Scott heads a group of 13 players at the top of the leader board who are separated by just three shots, including seven major winners – Paul Lawrie, Zach Johnson, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.
Tiger Woods, who went out in four-under 30 in his quest to win a first major since the 2008 US Open, battled with the slower greens.
At times, Woods displayed his frustration in a round where the former world number one certainly had his chances after piercing iron shots into the greens, only to have his putts die agonising short of the heart of the hole.
“Every putt was right on my line, but they were dying on the front of the lip,” said Woods of the unusually slow greens.
Woods made bogey from the tall rough at the 15th, and a three under 67 seemed scant reward for some of his outstanding shotmaking into the greens.
World number one Luke Donald, who has never been much of a factor in the majors, got off to a respectable start with a 70.
But Phil Mickelson, the runner-up a year ago at Royal St. George’s, got off to a less than ideal start with a 73.
Yet the opening day of The Open belonged to Scott.
He had a chance at history but Scott gladly settled for tying the course record with a dazzling display of golf – his drives accurate, his irons precise, even his putting, which has often been his nemesis, was solid and reliable.
Now history awaits and in Scott’s case there is business to attend to as he goes in search of his first major title and Australia’s first since Geoff Ogilvy’s win at the 2006 US Open.
“I haven’t achieved my goal of winning major championships,” said Scott.
“That’s what I’ve dreamt of as a kid and that’s what I made goals when I turned pro and what I’ve thought about since turning pro. I’m looking for a win this year.
But I would say I haven’t achieved what I wanted until I win a major or more.”