The 149th Open: Louis Oosthuizen enjoys ‘perfect’ start to lead Jordan Spieth at Royal St George’s

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Louis Oosthuizen completed on six underneath par to take the lead after the primary spherical at The Open at Royal St George’s

Louis Oosthuizen completed on six underneath par to take the lead after the primary spherical at The Open at Royal St George’s

Louis Oosthuizen savoured a “excellent” begin to The 149th Open as he fired a 64 to assert the first-round lead forward of Jordan Spieth and Brian Harman at Royal St George’s.

Oosthuizen, decided to keep away from a seventh runner-up end in a significant championship, and his third in row this 12 months, made six birdies and handed in a bogey-free scorecard to set the tempo on day one in shiny however blustery circumstances on the Sandwich hyperlinks.

Spieth, taking part in his first occasion because the US Open final month, put fears of aggressive rust behind him as he recovered from an early mistake with 4 straight birdies, and added another in a stable back-nine that added as much as a 65, a rating later matched by left-hander Harman.

The English quintet of Justin Rose, Danny Willett, Tommy Fleetwood, Andy Sullivan and Jack Senior all made encouraging begins as they posted 67s, nevertheless it was one other irritating opening day in a significant championship for Rory McIlroy, who didn’t construct on a shiny begin and needed to grind exhausting on the again 9 to return a level-par 70.

Jordan Spieth overcame a rusty start to fire a 65

Jordan Spieth overcame a rusty begin to fireplace a 65

Oosthuizen completed two pictures behind Phil Mickelson on the PGA Championship and was pipped to the US Open title by Jon Rahm at Torrey Pines final month, however he insisted the near-misses had been an inspiration reasonably than a hindrance after placing himself in competition for a second Open victory.

The graceful-swinging South African, topped Champion Golfer of the 12 months in 2010, made a cautious begin to his 14th Open with seven straight pars earlier than breaking that run with three birdies in a row, and additional good points at 13, 14 and 16 took him into the outright lead.

“In all probability, in my thoughts, it was the proper spherical I may have performed,” mentioned Oosthuizen, whose clubhouse lead was not significantly underneath menace for the remaining six hours of play on day one. “I did not make many errors, and after I had good alternatives for birdie, I made the putts. So it was simply an excellent, stable spherical.”

Oosthuizen refused to get carried away by his fast start at The 149th Open, where an opening-round 64 saw him top the leaderboard

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Oosthuizen refused to get carried away by his quick begin at The 149th Open, the place an opening-round 64 noticed him high the leaderboard

Oosthuizen refused to get carried away by his quick begin at The 149th Open, the place an opening-round 64 noticed him high the leaderboard

And when reminded of his seven runner-up finishes in majors since his lone win 11 years in the past, he turned that statistic into constructive motivation to go one higher this week.

“It provides me confidence going into majors figuring out that I am nonetheless competing in them and I’ve nonetheless bought probabilities of successful,” he added. “As soon as the week begins, I must get that out of my thoughts and simply deal with each spherical and each shot. Nevertheless it positively places me in a greater state of mind going into the week.

“I’ve realized over my years taking part in main championships that persistence is the important thing factor, and even if you happen to make bogeys, you already know that lots of people are going to make bogeys. I used to be simply very affected person, making an attempt to simply hit my pictures and I did not actually hit something shut sufficient to make birdies these first few holes.

The 149th Open: Day one because it occurred

Relive the important thing moments from the primary spherical at Royal St George’s

“After which hastily I made two good putts on eight and 9 and bought the ball rolling. It occurred shortly, however you continue to must put your self in these positions, and I felt positively the final 10, 11 holes I gave myself a variety of alternatives.”

Spieth defied his lack of match golf in latest weeks to briefly maintain the clubhouse lead on 5 underneath till being surpassed lower than an hour later by Oosthuizen, who comfortably outscored taking part in companions Rahm (71) and defending champion Shane Lowry, additionally one over for the day.

“The trail that I am on, and the place I have been earlier than within the recreation, I really feel actually good about my probabilities going ahead, nearly as good as they’ve been traditionally,” mentioned the resurgent Spieth, who was perilously near dropping out of the world’s high 100 in early February.

Former Open champion Spieth reflects on making a fast start to this year's contest with an opening-round 65

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Former Open champion Spieth displays on making a quick begin to this 12 months’s contest with an opening-round 65

Former Open champion Spieth displays on making a quick begin to this 12 months’s contest with an opening-round 65

“So far as stunned or not, I assume I really feel like I have been trending the suitable method and definitely had an opportunity this 12 months already at Augusta. I made some errors within the first and second rounds that I should not have made that I very nicely may have received that golf match this 12 months.

“I like the place I am at. Once more, I really feel like I used to be progressing properly, however took a pair steps again actually on the weekend at Colonial by means of the US Open, and I do know what it was now and tried to place in some good work over the previous few weeks to get again on the identical and even ahead it from the place I used to be already progressing.”

Harman raced to 4 underneath after simply 5 holes and added a fifth birdie on the eighth, though he discovered the going more durable after the flip and wanted a seventh birdie of the spherical on the final to match the rating of Spieth, who was within the group forward with Bryson DeChambeau and Branden Grace.

Bryson DeChambeau upset his sponsors with comments about his driver

Bryson DeChambeau upset his sponsors with feedback about his driver

DeChambeau incurred the wrath of his membership sponsors by declaring “my driver sucks” after he hit solely 4 of 14 fairways in his 71 which left him outdoors the highest 70 on a day of fantastic scoring on a course purposefully made softer by the R&A.

Dustin Johnson, who reclaimed the world No 1 rating from Rahm on Monday regardless of having final week off, opened with a stable 70 together with Viktor Hovland, Paul Casey, 2018 champion Francesco Molinari and Sergio Garcia, who wanted a police escort to get him to the venue in time as heavy site visitors induced points on many routes in.

Rory McIlroy opened with an erratic 70

Rory McIlroy opened with an erratic 70

McIlroy regarded within the temper to entertain the bumper galleries when he birdied the primary and arrange one other likelihood from six ft following an enormous drive down the second, though lacking the putt appeared to take a toll on his confidence as he then bogeyed three in a row from the fifth.

A birdie at eight was offset by one other mistake on the eleventh as he slipped again to 2 over, however he dug deep down the stretch and birdied 14 earlier than closing with a pleasant three on the final to get again to degree par for the match.

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July 16, 2021, 6:30am

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