ST. ANDREWS (Scotland) — The Old Course was never more fast. The pace of play was never more rapid.
Young and McIlroy were not subject to as much wind in their morning, although St. Andrews has been subject to stronger gusts throughout its history of golf. The Old Course held its own despite the difficult pin positions and humps.
Its the fiddliest Open Ive ever played. McIlroy stated, Its the only way that I can describe it. OK, 18th at Carnoustie looked like a runway. That fairway. However, around the greens here, and all the slopes, undulations, and everything, I think youre going get some funny bounces. Its going to test and frustrate your patience at times.
The patience tested by constant waiting is the only thing that tests patience. The rounds took just over six hours by late afternoon. They waited at the fairway and on the tee. It was difficult with so many players looking for the best angles for tight pins and playing to other fairways.
Tiger WoodsWith a score of 78, he was also unable to make the cut in the 2015 Open at St. Andrews.
Its how the golf course is set up. Its how firm it feels, U.S. Open champion Matt FitzpatrickAfter his 72. The way the course is designed… you have to hit across all fairways to get better angles, better lines. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about it. Its more sad than anything. Its absurd.
There were some good scores. 54 players broke par, 26 with rounds in the 60s.
Young was unexpectedly the leader because it was his first time competing at an Open links. He has had one the best rookie seasons of the PGA Tour and the 25-year old New Yorker is not at all intimidated by the stage. Two months ago, he fought until the end of the PGA Championship and was one shot away of a playoff.
Young played smartly and took full advantage of the birdie opportunities. He finished at 7 under after 12 holes, with the wind on the inward nine. He missed two great chances, ended up with a birdie and, most importantly, kept his bogeys at bay.
Young said that I don’t think I played a perfect game of golf. I scored really high. And I think we thought our ways around the things you need to do out there.
Young says he doesnt know all the secrets of Old Course. No one ever really figures it out with so many different conditions on the ground and air. There was one occasion when Young saw his yardage book note on the par-5 fifth and thought, Hard left beats right. He took a left turn and made birdie.
Young stated, We did stuff such as that a few more times today.
Winner of the Players Championship Cameron SmithEnglish qualifier Robert DinwiddieEach scored 67. Dinwiddie scored the highest score of the afternoon when the wind was at its strongest. The large group at the 66 included Masters champions. Scottie Scheffler, Dustin JohnsonEven better! Barclay Brown, an English amateur who plays at Stanford
Xander SchauffeleFollowing his second straight win last Wednesday, he was in group a 69.
Scheffler tried explaining the speed of the links by claiming that the ball was rolling faster on fairways than it was on the greens. He realized that was actually the case. Its the same at St. Andrews, when the ground is crisp and the Open visits the gray, old town.
Scheffler said, Im glad my mind is not losing its focus.
McIlroy was as relaxed as ever at St. Andrews. This was his first visit back to the Open since 2010. McIlroys game is in great shape. He made five birdies on 12 holes and only one mistake that resulted in a bogey on the 13.
Fantastic start. McIlroy stated that McIlroy predicted exactly what would happen as you start your week. I did everything I was supposed to around St. Andrews.
However, this years good starts are not new. After 18 holes, he led the PGA Championship and was only one shot behind the U.S. Opens first round. He couldnt keep it together both times until he was too far behind to catch-up.
I must go out tomorrow to back up what I did today, he stated.
Champion of defense Collin MorikawaHe struggled with his putting and was able to score a 72. Morikawa knew how long he had to play when there was a group at the fifth tee and the group ahead was just starting their walk toward the fairway.
Xander, I and others talked about it. Morikawa said that they are watching more golf than ever before, referring to the fact that neither of them watch TV much. You cant stay on the fairway while you watch two other groups play golf.