The decidedly old-school Miguel Angel Jimenez got a lot of attention for an early push to the top of the leaderboard and eventual opening 68 in Thursday's first round of the British Open, but it was a piece of new technology that may have helped propel him to five birdies on his first nine holes.
Jimenez was one of several players putting in play Srixon's latest version of its Z-Star ball, which was officially unveiled to the U.S. market yesterday (it was previously introduced in Europe this spring). The new Z-Star line, which includes the Z-Star and Z-Star XV, features three- (Z-Star) and four-piece designs (Z-Star XV) with a new coating on the urethane cover that is designed to improve greenside spin by enhancing friction between clubface and ball on shorter shots. According to Srixon's engineers, the coating creates a more flexible molecular structure that allows the cover of the ball to penetrate into the grooves.
The Z-Star line also features a new, larger 344-dimple pattern for more consistent aerodynamics in an effort to decrease ballflight variability in the wind.
The Z-Star features a single large-diameter core and thin cover, while the Z-Star XV is designed for higher swing speeds and features a dual-core. The new Z-Star line comes in traditional "pure white," as well as "tour yellow" color formulations.
In addition to Jimenez, who plays the Z-Star, Graeme McDowell play the Z-Star XV, while the current No. 1-ranked women's player in the game, Inbee Park, plays the new Z-Star. The new balls are expected to hit stores by Aug. 8 at a price of $45.