British Open

Hole-by-hole coverage from round one at Muirfield

Johnny Watterson Thu, Jul 18
LIVE: British Open

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  • 10:26
    Good morning. A beautiful day in Muirfield. Rory McIlroy is on the course and one under. A five under par from Spain's Jimenez leads. The fairways are like a motorway, the sun is out.  I'm Johnny Watterson and will keep you updated on all of the main action in everything British Open. Enjoy.
  • 10:34
    Michelson nicely progressing at -2, hoping to follow on fromlast week's win with a rare double. McIlroy on the fourth tee and a beatiful swing arcs the ball on to the par 3. Birdie putt. Sir Nick Faldo is +1 thru 5.
  • 10:36
    Shane Lowry sits on par thru 10 with Harrington, Clarke, McDowell and Maybin all set to tee off in the afternoon.
  • 10:41
    Rory is an an exciting three ball with Japanese 21-year-old   Matsuyama and Mickelson. The world number two misses his birdie putt. Meanwhile a shot from the rough hits a BBC camera lens and shatters it. There's a first. Was it Bjorn? It's hard to see from here.
  • 10:45
    There appears to be a fair few ladies around the course. No boycotts then of the all male bastion of Muirfield. Yes Portmarnock is all male too. A court case was taken and the club won that spat. Case closed there. Jimenez still leads on -5 with Spanish  compatriot Cabrera-Bello tied second on -2.
  • 10:50


    Portmarnock -Women can play at the course and pay green fees, but are not allowed to become full members.Three of five Supreme  Court judges who heard the case in 2009 dismissed the challenge of the Equality and Rights Alliance and ruled Portmarnock was a gentlemen's club where golf was played.

  • 10:54
    Dustin Johnson, the leading American, moves to -3. Johnson was fourth group out this morning and plays with Boba Watson, who is level par. Wee Mac has moved to +1 with a bogey on the par 3. His tee shot on the fifth finds rough and from there it's the bunker. He needs to straighten up.
  • 10:58
    Thomas Bjorn had a bit of a mishap early in his round, catching an ESPN camera flush with his shot from the rough
    Thomas Bjorn had a bit of a mishap early in his round, catching an ESPN camera flush with his shot from the rough
  • 10:59
    Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley, said a few weeks ago that McIlroy peaks and troughs but will always bounce back. This morning his round will determine if he is in a career slump or a temporary trough. McIlroy stabs the ball out of the green side bunker by the fifth and ball barely makes the green.
  • 11:03
    There's more bling on Jimenez than in the 'we buy gold' shop in Dublin city centre. Still it is doing him no harm as he leads on -4. Rory misses his short putt on 5. This is bad early on and he moves to +2. More discussion about his clubs and ball change.
  • 11:08
    Bones and Mickelson are having a right old natter on the sixth teebox. The Californian, who doesn't have a driver in the bag, has gone par, birdie, birdie, par, par for -2, two shots behind Jimenez.
  • 11:08
    Bones is, of course, Mickelson's caddy, has been for ever.
  • 11:10
    Sir Nick, who has won three Open Championships, is at +1 and is beating Wee Mac at +2.
  • 11:13
    Dustin Johnson completes a cracking front nine  and turns with 32 and -4, level with Jimenez. Four birdies and no bogeys so far keeps his card very tidy indeed.
  • 11:18
    The burnt grass and racing greens are causing problems for some but with Cabrera joining Jimenez and Johnson at -4, there are three players at the top showing no signs of fading in the sun.
  • 11:24
    -4: Jimenez (13), Cabrera-Bello (13), D Johnson (9)
    -2: Hamilton (F), Watney (6), Mickelson (5)
    -1: Fisher (F), Kaymer (10), Poulter (7), Fernandez-Castano (6), Matsuyama (5), Piercy (4), Katayama (4), Z Johnson (4)
  • 11:25
    The greens are running at 11 on the stimpmeter but are expected to speed up as the heat increases during the afternoon.
  • 11:29
    Ian Ppoulter opened with a bogey but has birdied twice. The Englishman who won many Irish hearts during the last Ryder Cup for his Bull Dog attitude and fighting spirit has gritted his teeth and keeps in touch at -1 thru 7.
  • 11:32
    McIlroy takes a two on the seventh to get a shot back, the putt left to right and easily one he could have missed. He's hanging in rather than striking fear into anyone.
  • 11:39
    McIlroy is now a shot better than Faldo (+2), which is more important than it seems. Philip Reid in today's Irish Times notes that McIlroy as good as told the knighted Englishman to keep his opinions to himself. That verbal spat came after Faldo told McIlroy to hit the course nine to five - in other words work harder. The Ulsterman pointedly replied that he's a 12 hour a day man and not  eight hours.
  • 11:41
    American Todd Hamilton has posted a 69 with the stern faced Poulter moving to -2 after completing the front nine in 34, a birdie on the 9th to send him into the turn with a pep in his step.
  • 11:45
    Back to back wins Mickelson will tell you is difficult. Back to back Majors is another  bag of frogs completely. Justin Rose, trying to follow on from his win at Merion, scrambles to a 38 at the turn. Still very much there but like McIlroy not yet convincing.
  • 11:47
    Another Johnson moves into the -4 group at the top of the leader board, this one Zach. He joins Jimenez, Cabrera and Dustin. Two Americans, two Spaniards leading the Open.
  • 11:52
    "It's all about getting the preparation right for these tournament," says Padraig Harrington before he begins his round at 13.01. "To be honest I wasn't doing much the last couple of days. I've been taking it easy. I put two long irons into the bag, took out a wedge. Having a good long iron is very important, 200 yards into the wind type shots...there's a lot of shots that require a long iron."
  • 11:55
    Frown Lowry bogeys 14 and 15 following four straight pars after the turn. He's +2.
  • 12:03
    The tee shot of Jimenez at 16 flys through the green. It's a messy effort coming back. Bogey. Zach Johnson takes advantage. The leaders have changed with the American topping the first page.

    -5: Z Johnson (7)
    -4: D Johnson (11)
    -3: Jimenez (16), Cabrera-Bello (15)
    -2: Hamilton (F), Poulter (10), Watney (9), Tiley (4)
  • 12:08
    The front nine is playing about a stroke easier than the back nine. Tony Jacklin has just said on BBC that the players can't attack this course, that it requires respect and patience. It means the players need to keep in touch with the leaders and McIlroy, who pars the 9th for 37 at the turn is just about there at +1.
  • 12:12
    Rory looks a little more happy at the turn than he did early on. His 20 foot putt on the 9th was just a ball away from dropping. Given how badly he's played some of the holes +1 seems kind enough. But Zach Johnson is on fire with three birdies and an eagle with another birdie chance on the 8th.
  • 12:20
    The cigars and red wine are getting to Jimenez. and at 49-years-old he deserves only the best. But his round appears to have fizzled out. He finds the fringe at 17 and settles for par. A par on 18 would give him a very respectable 68. More Rioja. More humidors in the team room.
  • 12:24
    What we haven't mentioned Stephen Tiley yet. The Englishman, who qualified through the Local Final Qualifying at Hillside is tied second at -3 with three birdies and two pars in the first five holes.
  • 12:27
    Frown Rory seems to rush through the ball on the 10th and pushes a ten-foot putt to the right. That's a bogey for the Ulsterman as he drops back to +2.

  • 12:34
    Jimenez, with a firm putt from eight feet  on the 18th, cards a 68 and is leader in the club house but the former Masters' Champion Zack Johnson is still a shot ahead of the field, closing his front nine with a bogey free 31.
  • 12:39
    Oh dear. Back to back bogeys on 10 and 11 and Rory is looking more like a player in a slump than a world number two struggling with some transient poor form. Three over par thru 11 holes and his body language now says 'frustrated.' Can McIlroy grind and get a few back like his Ulster friend McDowell can do. He'll have to now or he's going down in flames.
  • 12:45
    "Very very nice, very solid. It's good. We can't complain about the weather. it's nice, fast. I feel comfortable," says Jimenez after his 68. His kickback mood is the polar opposite to Rory, who at the 12th hits too long and falls off the back of the green. He's looking at a very tough up and down for par.
  • 12:50
    A great up and down for a 67 for Cabrera. The 29-year-old, a full 20 years younger than Jimenez, sinks an eight foot putt for a closing 67, one shot ahead of his compatriot.
    Meanwhile Rory's ball dolefully rolls back down the slope towards his feet after his chip attempt on the 12th. His second effort rolls 20 feet past the pin. Unless he sinks the putt the Ulster flag at Muirfield may well be hung at half mast.
  • 12:52
    Rory McIlroy is not a happy camper as his struggles continue at Muirfield
    Rory McIlroy is not a happy camper as his struggles continue at Muirfield
  • 12:54
    Rory's putt skims the cup and he double bogeys 12. His last three hole shave been bogey, bogey, double bogey. He is five over par with six holes to play, 10 shots behind the leader Zach Johnson, who is -5.
  • 13:02

    We've seen this before and it was just a few weeks ago on Centre Court. Sabine Lisicki (not Wozniacki) stared at the ground in the same way in disbelief of what was unfolding in the Wimbledon final. The crowd clapping every positive shot is sympathetic and not the sort of applause McIlroy was looking for this week. He looks good for par on the 13th to stop the rot. Currently he's lying T82.
  • 13:03
    Current leader board -

    -5: Z Johnson (10)
    -4: Cabrera-Bello (F)
    -3: Jimenez (F), Tiley (8)
    -2: Hamilton (F), D Johnson (15), Poulter (13), Cabrera (10), Mullen (8), O'Meara (4), Jacobsen (3)
  • 13:15
    Rory has stemmed the haemorrage. His tee shot on 13 lands to around four feet and he birdies for +4. Meanwhile Zach Johnson moves to 6 under after a birdie on 12. 130-1 before the championship was Zach.
  • 13:17
    Padraig Harrington has a steady start and pars the first hole. Darren Clarke is in the group immedately behind the Dubliner.
  • 13:27
    A stroke of brilliant power and accuracy from McIlroy on the 14th hole may trigger an asent up his Alpe d'Huez. He pars the hole to remain +4.
  • 13:33
    Ernie, Ernie.... He's had two slaps at his ball in the greenside bunker at the16th par 3 and it's still lying in the sand. A six has disfigured Els' card and dropped him from level par to +3. Meanwhile Harrington remains steady on par after two with Darren Clarke +1, having bogeyed the first hole.
  • 13:39
    Shane Lowry has finished his first round. Three bogeys in the back nine on 14, 15 and 16 knocked him back to +3 for a final round of 74.
  • 13:43
    He saunters around the course with an loping gait, hits the ball a mile and never seems to get ruffled. Dustin Johnson closes his first round for a 68, which leaves him in the cluhouse just one adrift of the leader Rafael Cabrera.
  • 13:47
    Rory has putted into a bunker at the 15th. Don't see that too often even with tricky greens. He has a tricky stance to get out but does it with a fine dollop of bunker sand coming out with the ball. Small mercies now. he could have stayed in there. He misses his bogey attempt and drops to +6.
  • 13:49
    Clarke steadies with a par on the second hole for +1 with Harrington stitching three pars together in his opening three holes.
  • 13:56
    The Sports Editor has just pointed out that of the 114 players who have taken to the course, there are only six with worse scores than McIlroy who is sloping around on six over. Happily, Sir Nick is one of those worse off (at the moment, at least) as he plays the last on eight under. Every cloud, and all that.
  • 14:03
    The defending champion looks like losing further ground as Ernie Els takes out a fan in the grandstand to the right of the final hole.
  • 14:04
    On the tee! Sergio Gaaaarciaaa.
  • 14:05
    Ernie has dropped in the long stuff after taking out a punter and scooted one well past the flag. About the best he could have hoped for there.
  • 14:09
    Els finishes with a 74. Snedeker cards an impressive 68 and is followed home by US Open champion Justin Rose, who can only record a 75
  • 14:10

  • 14:13
    Lee Westwood just hit a glorious approach to the first green that rolled withing inches of the flag at practically dead eight. Early birdie opportunity for the Englishman
  • 14:15
    Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar and Adam Scott. The latter back for anohter bite after an awful finish last year saw him cede the Claret Jug to Els.
  • 14:20
    A birdie for Westwood at the first and it's a bright start for him. Garcia could only manage a par at the opening hole.
  • 14:22
    Schwartzel, on the other hand, double bogeyed the first but there are birdie chances out there according to the Beeb. Good to know.
  • 14:24
    A birdie chance for Mickelson just stays on the high side at 17. Still three over.

    McIlroy has drifted out to 200-1 in the betting. Still 6 over. Get on it, folks!
  • 14:25

  • 14:26

  • 14:27
    Harrington moves from steady to knocking it up a gear with a birdie on the fifth. He's one under thru five and Clarke is at par thru four. Nice contrast in cards though with Clarke taking the scenic route of bogey, par, birdie, par.
  • 14:29

    The 18-year-old amateur Matthew Fitzpatrick from Sheffield birdied 2 and almost sank a 40-foot eagle opportunity on the fifth. He'll have a birdie that'll take him to -2, a cracking start..
  • 14:36
    Five birdies in the front nine for 31 has Mark O'Meara rolling it out for the aged. The American won his first Major as a 41-year-old in the1998 Masters. Three months later he won the Open at Birkdale. He's joint lreader with Zach Johnson at -5. Go on ya 56-year-old.
  • 14:41
    They are saying there is a sheen off the grass in Muirfield. We think it could be the fault of Lee Westwood in DayGlo yellow. Not to be missed....anywhere on the course. He's one under after two.
  • 14:48
    A disconsolate McIlroy closes at 8 over par, a full 13 shots off the current leader Zach Johnson. He has the ability to make the weekend cut but playing the way he has, he won't. Rory departs and Tiger tees off at the first hole at almost the same time. His first is a shocker into the long munchies. He seems cursed to hit bad opening shots at The Open.
    His playing partner McDowell follows. Electric blue slacks he booms a drive and picks up his tee, knowing it is straight down the middle.
  • 14:51
    Oddschecker has moved Zach Johnson's odds from 110-1 to 10-1. Suppose that's how they make their money.
  • 14:53
    Tiger takes a drop after a dismal opening blow. He's hitting his third from the long stuff, although it is trampled. It is 191 yards to the front of the green with the grass growing back towards the ball. He smashes it into the greenside bunger.
  • 14:59
    McIlroy - two birdies, eight pars, six bogeys and two double bogeys.

    "I sort of hung in there... made two sloppy bogeys on four and five ...had a chance on nine to get to even par...hit a few too many loose shots. A few silly mental errors that cost me. I missed the ball in the wrong places that you just can't do here...yes just stupid mental errors that I shouldn't be making."
  • 15:06
    Our friends from America have fared particularly well with Mickelson finishing with a 68 (-2)

    "I got lucky to play in the morning because of the way the course is turning out," said the lefty after his round. "The way the greens have got makes it very difficult. But I certainly got fortunate. A third of each green has died so it's slick."
    Dead greens?? The R&A should know about that.
  • 15:08
    Loooooouk and Koooooch are in the same three ball. That could be confusing for Luke Donald and Matt Kuchar. Poor Adam Scott has to put up with it all.
  • 15:10
    Darren is keeping it going in his trademark roller coaster sort of way. Two bogeys, two birdies and three pars have him level, the same as Harrington, who birdied the 5th but gave it back on the 8th.
  • 15:11
    Some of the pins today "are suspect" says Mickelson. On the 8th green he says it's "Putt, putt."
  • 15:15
    Has Tiger forgiven Sergio yet. Has Elin forgiven Tiger. Have the R&A forgiven Mickelson - dead greens. Has Rory forgiven Nike?
  • 15:16
  • 15:17
    No Major title is currently held by an American. But looked here..

    -5: Z Johnson (F)
    -4: Cabrera-Bello (F), O'Meara (11)
    -3: Jimenez (F), D Johnson (F), Snedeker (F), Cabrera (17)
    -2: Hamilton (F), Mickelson (F), Fitzpatrick (8), Laird (7)
  • 15:26
    Tiger hits his iron into the bunker directly behing the flag on three. He can't afford to drop another shot or he's heading into McIlroy territory. McDowell is still a steady level par thru 2 with Harrington and Clarke also level thru 8.
  • 15:29
    Tiger knocks his bunker shot at 3 to about 12 inches, a cloud of sand enveloping his sweet face.
  • 15:35
    Nick Faldo walks in at 8 over par, the same as McIlroy. I the verbal exchange they had during the week, it seemed the three times winner has the moral high ground going into the second round. So far 8 over is the worst score bar a 9 over par and two 10 overs.

  • 15:45
    Woods shows why he's usually out on his own. He could so easily have slipped away at the third but got up and down from the bunker with ease. He has just birdied the fourth par 3 to pull his score back to level par.
  • 15:49
    Harrington continues to tease and frustrate. He goes out for 35 but immediately bogeys the 10th hole. The temperature is hitting 27 degrees, positively tropical for Scotland's east coast.
  • 15:50
    Apparently sunburn and chaffed thighs on larger folk are the two main problems facing paramedics at Muirfield. The first is obvious because of the sun, the latter maybe best left alone.
  • 15:54
    El Nino has just dropped in a 30-footer on the 6th to move to -2. For most people that's a great thing but for most people they also seem to know what's coming next. for Sergio. Don't they?!. He'll hold it together? Never.
  • 15:58
    Mark O'Meara, ostensibly over for the Seniors next week, still hasn't been distracted by the refreshments tent. The 56-year-old holds at -3, although two bogeys in the last five holes thru 14 might be ominous.
  • 16:03
    Kooooooch is up against the face of the well bunkered 7th. He can't even get itout sideways and seems to be considering taking a drop inside the bunker....miraculously he skies it onto the green. Currently +2
  • 16:05
    Peter Hansen has pulled out after five holes with a back complaint. There is some poor sap looking on with his polished clubs thinking if the flipper had just pulled out before the tournament began I could be playing the Open.
  • 16:09
    The greens are now looking like Centre Court on the second Sunday but without the scuff marks. But McDowell is far from quaking. Pars all the way with a birdie at the fifth leaves him at -1.
  • 16:12
    "It's turning into glass now. Its turning very difficult." Sir Nick on the course baring its teeth.
  • 16:13
    Kevin Mannerings With all the chat from Lefty and Poulter about the 8th green, does anyone know how Shane Lowry birdied that hole?
  • 16:17
    Not sure how to answer that just yet, Kevin, but this just in from his press conference.
  • 16:17
  • 16:18
    we use the term "just in" loosely, of course.
  • 16:21
    Bet on Charl Schwartsel to win. NOW. A snap hook on the 9th hole hits a stone wall a full 40 yards wide of the fairway. But the ball bounces back onto the dance floor. Westwood watches it unfold. Well he is as he always is. No expression.
  • 16:23
    Clarke has gone to -1 a birdie on the par 4 11th keeping him up there with the likes of Garcia, Westwood and McDowell. That, if Clarke can hold it, would be a decent score as the course plays more difficult than this morning.
  • 16:35
    A 6 iron into the wind from McDowell finds the seventh green. He is still steady and carving out a good round like most of the field that started late. Few are getting beyond a shot or two under par as the conditions continue to be testing and punitive.
  • 16:38
    The greens are insanely slick. Westwood's putt up the 9th green for birdie just shaved the hole before racing 10 feet past. He can't knock in the return putt. Sergio drops a shot too after he could only find the fringe from a bunker 100 yards down the right and wasn't able to get up and down.
  • 16:42
    Luke Donald does a Charl Schwartzel when his errant slap hits a tree or a wall or the stand and bounces back onto the fairway. The English gent strides down the 9th fairway with a suitably embarrassed grin. He turns in 39 (+3)
  • 16:48
    8th, 17th and 18th pins 'a little suspect.' - Phil Mickelson

    'the 8th is a joke' - Ian Poulter

    The Official R&A reaction - "We do have fantastic weather. We set up the golf course to test the player's management strategy. We put the pins in the position where in some holes you have to hit your second shot beyond the hole to putt back. Its part of the links course defences in this weather. the course is playing very short. We're very happy with the scoring. There are a good number of players under par. Ian Poulter might not have been in the best of moods. It's far from unplayable."
  • 16:53
    Don't you just love it when the pros begin to moan. Of the leading 15 players all have completed their rounds with the exception of veteran O'Meara on -4, India's Shiv Kapur on -3 and USA's Hunter Mahan on -2. So it's a little harder this afternoon. Shudup already.
  • 16:58
    What about big Darren holding it together. Brought up on the cursed links, the Dungannon man may well have a pint tonight if he keeps it going. His back nine have been a steady par, birdie, par, par thru 13. Remember Royal St Georges in 2011. Who doesn't?
  • 17:05
    What a day for O'Meara who closes with a 67 and is tied for second place with Rafael Cabrera. A three on the par 5, 11th hole hauled the American back up the leader board after a rake of early birdies.
    Louis Oosthuizen becomes the second player after Peter Hansen to withdraw injured.
  • 17:12
    McDowell is in trouble down the 9th. Hisapproach finds the a habitat that has not been trampled by the crowd. Just to get it out....Mr sensible, sitting on -1, has taken a drop for an unplayable ball.
  • 17:15
    Tom Lehman, a 54-year-old American has just posted a 68, with birdies on 17 and 18 in an otherwise perfect back nine.
  • 17:21
    McDowell is in deep trouble at the ninth hole. After taking a penalty drop from deep grass he has pitched over the green. His return rolls 12 feet past the pin. He misses the bogey putt, running two feet past the hole. Instead of turning on -1, the Ulsterman faces the back nine on +1.
  • 17:23
    Shiv Kapur joins leader Zack Johnson on -5 thru six holes. He's birdied all but the fourth hole, where he took par.
  • 17:26
    "He's done that in true Jack Nicklaus fashion," says the BBC sage Peter Alliss, of Tiger at the 9th hole and battling qualities. "A few of them give up before they even get going."
  • 17:30
    Joint leader, Shiv Kapur, has only ever played in one Open before, missing the cut at Hoylake in 2006, Think he will hold that position?
  • 17:38
    Everyone is struggling to stay level par. Paul Lawrie +9 eek!! Sergio, to his credit, is fighting, which is something that can't always be said. He dropped shots at 8, 9 and 12, but has given himself the chance of getting something back with a pin-high tee shot at 13. Nah. He's still =1
    Shiv Kapur leads the Open with -6, an extraordinary six birdies in seven holes.
  • 17:43
    Clarke has struggled over the last three holes but has steadied on +1 after bogeys at 14 and 15. McDowell is also at +1 with Harrington on +2, most of his difficulties coming on the back nine, with three bogeys carded thru 17.
  • 17:51
    Rory McIlroy has offered the most revelatory insight yet into his state of mind, by admitting that he feels "brain dead" and "unconscious" on the golf course. He's considering going to see Bob Rotella, the famous golf psychologist.
  • 17:53
    Darren rattles in a long putt on 17 for birdie. He's missed the last four cuts but looks good going down the 18th on level par.
  • 17:58
    " I don't see it that way," said Mark O'Meara of complanits about the conditions." I'd be the first to come and tell you if I thought it was unfair. The wind was just enough to test you a little bit but it wasn't out of control. I have seen conditions a lot worse."
  • 18:01
    They are not all heartless wannabe winners you know. Steve Stricker is not at Muirfield because he wanted to stay at home with his wife for this 20th wedding aniversary.
  • 18:14
    Darren Clarke had a steady round, which for him is cracking. He found the bunker at 18 but floated the ball beautifully to within a few feet and walked in on level par 72..
    Harrington closed with a 73 grabbing pars on the last four holes for an overall +2. He went out in 35 and back in 38. McDowell is +1 thru 12 holes, grinding away to keep in touch with level par.
    We'll keep you informed thoughout the working day tomorrow and for comprehensive coverage of everything that happened at Muirfield Philip Reid will report in Thursday's Irish Times on everything from McIlroys' demise to all the leader's news.