Mexico Open at Vidanta

Vidanta Vallarta

The Loop

Some big names lament an opportunity lost

July 15, 2010

ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND -- Ordinarily it's fisherman who do all the talking about the one that got away. At the 2010 British Open, where unexpectedly calm conditions for much of the first round led to surprisingly low scores on the Old Course, it was golfers who failed to make many birdies who lamented about what might have been.

"It's an opportunity missed," said defending champion Stewart Cink of his two-under 70, which left him tied for 41st as the final groups teed of in the late afternoon. "It was as easy to control your ball at St. Andrews as I've ever seen."

With Rory McIlroy going out in 63, a handful of marquee players who broke par for the day find themselves several strokes off the pace. Among them are Ernie Els (69), Ian Poulter (71), Tim Clark (71).

Justin Rose, who was considered one of the favorites entering the championship, posted a 70 only to see fellow playing partners Tiger Woods and Camillo Villegas post a 67 and 68 respectively. Asked his opinion of the round, the Englishman was diplomatic.

"It's neither a good score or a bad score," Rose said. "It's a start. You can't win the Open today but you can lose it, and I didn't do that. All in all, it's probably what I deserved."

By 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, 22 players had finished their rounds at 68 or lower. By comparison in 2005, 19 golfers had similarly scores through the completed round.

Of course, at least Cink and Rose broke par in the benign conditions. Two-time Open champion Padraig Harrington was left shaking his head with a one-over 73, while 2001 winner David Duval shot a disappointing 77.

-- Ryan Herrington