by Jeff Skinner
There were plenty of surprises on day one of the Open Championship and the most surprising of all had to be the birdie fest that the players were having over a defenseless Royal Lytham & St. Annes early in the round.
Mild weather, lack of wind and a softer, more forgiving course let players go deep into red numbers. Adam Scott threatened the low major 18 hole score of 62 before he stumbled on the eighteenth hole. Thirty six players finished under par, the majority of them went out early in the first wave. The weather did turn later in the afternoon but it was nothing compared to what it could have been.
That’s not to say there wasn’t trouble on there on the links of Royal Lytham. Phil Mickelson felt the wrath of the bunkers and the thick, deep, long penalizing rough that has grown unchecked in this very wet summer in Lancashire. Phil had to take an unplayable after a failed attempt to get out of a fairway bunker that resulted in an embedded ball.
Phil wasn’t alone in finding severe trouble as nine players in total utilized Rule 28b that allows for a drop, with penalty, if a player deems his ball unplayable.
As Peter Alliss said “The simple answer is that he shouldn’t have put it there.”
All in all that is a very impressive leaderboard after day one. There are plenty of established major winner: Paul Lawrie, Zach Johnson, Ernie Els, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy. And there are many good players still chasing that first major: Adam Scott, Nicolas Colsaerts and Brandt Snedeker.