Thursday's Birdies and Bogeys

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Thursday's Birdies and Bogeys

July 16, 2014

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

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Birdie: Rory McIlroyHere we go again. Mr. Thursday opened with a 66 to grab the first-round lead at Hoylake and continue a trend of going low in the first round. McIlroy didn't make a bogey and missed several other mid-range chances that could have given him a bigger edge after Day 1. Of course, everyone will be waiting to see if he can buck another trendand not suffer a setback in the second round, where his scoring average has been nearly five shots worse in 2014. But let's try to stay positive, shall we? Rory, you lead the Open! Well done! Just try to do the opposite of everything you normally do between your first two rounds, OK? -- Alex Myers

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Birdie: Tiger WoodsAny way you slice it, it was a good day for Tiger Woods. He looked completely pain-free in just his third competitive round since returning from back surgery, and that included a number of times when he had to hack out of the rough. After starting with consecutive bogeys, he played the rest of the day in five-under par. There were still a few shaky iron shots, particularly earlier in the day, but with a three-under 69 in his first major in nearly a year, it's a round Woods can no doubt build upon.-- Luke Kerr-Dineen

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Bogey: Guys playing with TigerConsidered by many to be the best current golfer without a major, Henrik Stenson was two under through 11 before things unraveled. First, he hammered a 20-foot birdie putt off the green on No. 12 and made double bogey. Then, on No. 17, his frustration with Hoylake's rough caused him to snap a club over his knee. A closing birdie calmed him down a bit, but he surely was disappointed by an even-par 72 playing in perfect morning scoring conditions. Playing partner Angel Cabrera fared worse. The two-time major champ and recent winner at the Greenbrier was four over through four holes and shot 76 on a course where he finished solo seventh in 2006. Another day like this, and people might start saying Tiger Woods' intimidation factor is back! -- A.M.

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Birdie: Adam ScottFor the third straight year, Scott appears poised to contend for a claret jug, only this time he's doing it as the No. 1-ranked player in the world. Making his 68 on Thursday (which featured an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole) most impressive was that Scott played in the afternoon's more difficult swirling conditions, with his score matching the low for that side of the draw with Shane Lowry. Scott got to Royal Liverpool in the middle of last week to learn the nuances of the course, and thus far it appears the work has paid off. The big question is whether on Sunday he can finally finish the job.-- Sam Weinman

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Bogey: phil mickelsonJust when Phil Mickelson thought he had this links golf thing figured out, along came a 74 on Thursday that was one part errant ball-striking, one part crummy luck getting the more difficult side of the draw. Not helping was Mickelson's approach into 18, which he pulled right and just out of bounds. The good news is the defending Open champ was able to salvage a bogey, and was actually encouraged at day's end. "Certainly the score sucks but this is as good as I've hit it in a long time," Mickelson said. -- S.W.

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Birdie: Sergio GarciaGarcia doesn't need to be reminded that he's still waiting for his first major, which is especially strange considering how well his game fits golf's toughest courses. But it looks like Garcia is on track to give himself another chance at a major this time around, taking advantage of the good conditions early to shoot a four-under 68 on Thursday. "At the end of the day I realize that I'm trying to do my best," Garcia said on his chances this time around. "If I'm doing my best, I can't ask for anything else." -- L.K.D.

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Bogey: Bubba WatsonUnlike at Pinehurst and the U.S. Open, Watson had no untoward words for Royal Liverpool during his pre-tournament British Open press conference. Instead he let his body language do the talking regarding his displeasure with links-style golf. Despite two early birdies, the Masters champion got it going sideways with three bogeys and a triple in a five-hole stretch. With each uncomfortable swing en route to an eventual four-over 76, the exasperation on Watson's face said it all: he would have rather been anywhere but Hoylake on Thursday. -- Ryan Herrington

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Birdie: Matteo ManasseroThe British Open was Manassero's coming out party in 2009, when he finished T-13 and earned low amateur honors. Two subsequent starts as a pro, however, haven't been quite as kind (both resulting in missed cuts), making his five-under 67 Thursday all the more pleasurable. The day began with him holing a bunker shot for birdie on the first, and three birdies on the four par 5s proved valuable as Manassero, still just 21, trailed only Rory McIlroy at day's end. He took the performance in stride. "I'm happy," he said afterward. "But I don't want to start thinking too far ahead." -- R.H.

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Birdie: John SingletonThe owner of the Liverpool-area factory where John Singleton drives a forklift gave everyone the day off Thursday, and they came to support their man in force. It didn't matter that he shot 78 -- he striped his drive off the first tee, and played his first 11 holes better than Tiger Woods on the day. The crowd cheered him on every step of the way, and they will again Friday. "I'm not some Big Time Charley who's going to win," he said after the round. "I'm just there to enjoy myself and soak it all up." -- L.K.D.

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Bogey: Ernie ElsCan you be mentally checked out of a golf tournament while you're still on the first hole? That's what appeared to happen to Els, who was shaken up after striking a spectator with his opening tee shot. "I was thinking about him. There's blood all over. And I was quite rattled." On the green, Els missed a one-footer -- yes, a one-footer-- for bogey. He then carelessly backhanded the comebacker and missed that as well. The triple bogey was just part of a disastrous front-nine 42 for the four-time major winner, who finished with a 79 -- tied for his second-worst score in 73 career rounds at the British Open. "Yeah, I was kind of finished. And then started missing short putts. It was a nightmare. So I'd like to put it behind me. I just hope the gentleman feels better, because he looked really bad when I left him there." -- A.M.

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Birdie: The MolinarisBrothers contending in the same British Open is an old story -- emphasis on the old. In 1866, Willie Park Sr. and David Park finished 1-2 in the championship, a feat matched in 1903 by Harry and Tom Vardon. While only one round in, Edoardo (33) and Francesco (31) Molinari would love to join them. The siblings shot matching 68s, finishing 30 minutes apart, to end the day tied for third. For each, it was the best round of their Open careers. The Italians practiced together earlier in the week and have a close, albeit competitive, relationship. "We don't like to lose to each other," said Francesco, who holed a 15-foot eagle putt to tie his older brother, "and we don't like to lose to anyone else." So far, so good. -- R.H.

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Birdie: Brooks KoepkaIf you're not taking the 24-year-old Floridian, a newly-minted PGA Tour member, seriously by now, it's time you do. Koepka's four-under 68 came despite the fact he double bogeyed the second hole, and left him T-3 after one round. The performance helped affirm his T-4 finish at last month's U.S. Open. After starting his pro career on the Challenge and European Tour, Koepka managed to earn enough via sponsor's exemptions on the PGA Tour this spring to gain full status. Quietly, he has built up a 70.27 stroke average in 13 PGA Tour starts this season, helping him earn a reputation among his peers as somebody to follow. -- R.H.

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Bogey: Patrick ReedIt wasn't the best of Open debuts for the 23-year-old even before he arrived at the 18th tee sitting at three over after making four bogeys in his previous 10 holes. A triple-bogey 8 on the last, however, didn't help matters, leaving him T-140. Hopefully, Reed didn't try to boost his spirits afterward by taking to Twitter, where his "top five player in the world" comment from earlier in the year was being hurled back at him. -- R.H.

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Birdie: Ben CraneYes, a last-minute trip to the British Open -- especially one originating in Oregon -- would have been much more worth it had Crane actually secured a Thursday tee time, but we dig the first alternate's attitude. Even though he didn't get to play, Crane remained in high spirits and said he had no regretsmaking the journey -- one that Steve Stricker opted not to make despite having a spot in the field -- that didn't see him get to Hoylake until 1 a.m. Thursday. "I never gave it a second thought. This is the Open," he said. Crane also said he'd play a round with his caddie before flying home. So lugging his clubs across the pond wasn't a total waste. -- A.M.

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