The first round of The Open Championship (the British Open? The Championship?) is all but over, and we’ve already got a pretty good idea what the next three days will look like. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are playing well, and names like Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy are in serious trouble.
Woods and Mickelson both finished their first round at 2-under 69, Mickelson playing in the morning and Woods playing in the afternoon. That puts the two Americans three shots back of another American, Zach Johnson, entering tomorrow’s second round.
The surprises in the first round of a major come from everywhere, and that was true today. Who would have believed that Rory McIlroy, still No. 2 in the world bu struggling mightily this year, would shot 79, the same score as three-time Open winner Nick Faldo? Or that both of those players would edge out Luke Donald, who staggered to a 80 on the course.
A pair of seniors with British Open titles to their name also made some noise, bit Tom Watson wasn’t won of the, Mark O’Meara is -4, just one shot off the lead. And Tom Lehman is -3. Watson, the five-time British Open champion, managed a 75.
So is this the year we get a showdown between Woods and Mickelson on Sunday of a major? Can Mickelson truly contend in this event, a tournament and a style of golf that he fought for years but now seems to embrace? Can Woods break that five-year winless streak in majors?
Only three first-round leaders in the 15 Opens played at Muirfield have gone on to win the tournament. Maybe that opens the history door for Johnson.
Interesting first round, though.