The Open Championship is underway! Here's your complete roundup of the first day.
Getting to the top of the leaderboard at the Open Championship is one thing. Staying there is something else entirely.
Rory McIlroy, who oscillates between brilliance and madness on the golf course, tipped off the Open Championship in fine fashion on Thursday, shooting a six-under 66 to take and hold the outright lead going into Friday. McIlroy missed only four greens, and his driving average of 340.5 yards topped the field.
The question now for McIlroy is whether he'll be able to survive Friday. For whatever reason, the second day of tournaments has bedeviled him this season in an unfathomable way: he's more than four strokes worse on Fridays than Thursdays.
“It’s not like I’ve shot good scores in first rounds and haven’t backed them up before,” he said. “I’m used to doing that. I just haven’t done it recently.”
So much of the Open Championship's first two days depends on tee times relative to weather. McIlroy benefited from a favorable draw on Thursday and may catch a break Friday: the forecast calls for rain early, meaning it could be cleared away by the time Rory tees up at 2:27 p.m. local time.
Other notables include Adam Scott, who played the best of the afternoon contingent, finishing just two strokes behind McIlroy. Sergio Garcia pulled his usual Open Championship showmanship and also sits at -4. Tiger Woods had a solid round punctuated by a five-birdie run over six holes to finish at -3. Phil Mickelson had to deal with a rare out-of-bounds shot that was within the borders of the 18th hole and ended at +2; his playing partner Bubba Watson had all kinds problems holding his game together and finished +4.
The opening tee shot of , the local factory worker who managed to qualify his way into the Oepn Championship. His boss gave the entire factory the day off to watch Singleton. And when Singleton stepped up to the tee, his gallery was second only to Tiger Woods'. He gripped his club, drew back ...
... and striped the tee shot right down the middle of the fairway. The gallery went insane. The gallery, it's worth noting, made up of Singleton's family and friends. And he spent plenty of time acknowledging them during his round.
"They're my mates. I spend a lot of my time with them," he said. "I'm not some Big Time Charley who's going to win. I obviously want to win, but I'm just there to enjoy myself and soak it all up."
Singleton finished the round +6, and may not make the weekend. But he made it to the start, and that's what's important.
A cautionary tale for Mr. McIlroy:
Avert your eyes, Rory: Since '75, only 1st-round Open leaders who've won are Tiger ('05), Daly ('95), Norman ('93), Seve ('88), Watson ('80)— Steve Elling (@EllingYelling) July 17, 2014
Chris Hanson (@Hansonprogolf) July 17, 2014
At least Chris Hanson can still smile after a +9 round on Thursday.
No idea what kind of stuffed animal this dad is wearing on his head, but props to him for not forcing his kid to wear the same thing too.
Ernie Els triple-bogeyed the first hole after hitting a spectator and then three-putting from inside one foot. This, friends, is as painful as it gets. Els would finish +7 on the day.
We have no idea what's going on here? An octopus's garden in the shade, to honor the hometown Beatles? Or just some horrific beast from beneath the sea? Whatever, the fans don't seem too concerned.
"Jesus Christ. Guys." - Tiger Woods
Woods was one of many players complaining about the gallery at Thursday's round. Bubba Watson said there were "thousands of people" on the fairways. The R&A, the Open's governing body, was moved enough to put out a statement reminding fans to be responsible with their cell phone and camera usage. Good luck with all that.
And that's a wrap for Day 1. Thanks for hanging with us! Come on back tomorrow for more!