The Open Championship is off to a terrific start with many star players occupying the top of the leaderboard thanks to scoring conditions that haven't been as bad as expected. As always, that can change in an instant at the year's third major tournament.
Let's take a look at how some of the top contenders already in the clubhouse fared in their opening rounds at Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club. For a complete list of scores to see where your favorite player currently stands, click here.
Adam Scott (-6)
Scott bogeyed the third and 18th holes, but in between were eight birdies that propelled him to the top of the leaderboard. His 64 tied the course record and was mostly due to impeccable precision off the tee and on his approach shots.
The 32-year-old Australian has never won a major event, making him one of the most talented players in the world with that distinction. Based on his performance in Round 1, that drought has a good chance to finally come to an end.
He finished in the top 15 at both the Masters and U.S. Open, so his play in the big tournaments has been solid. As long as he's able to maintain the accuracy he showed off so often on Thursday, he'll be in terrific shape on Sunday.
Which of these players has the best chance to win?
Tiger Woods (-3)
For awhile it looked like Woods had a real chance of posting a score even lower than Scott's. He was four-under par through seven holes and, at least for a minute, it seemed like he had plans of running away from the field.
He wasn't able to carry that early momentum through the rest of the round, though. Starting on the eighth hole he posted all pars except for one bogey. It was good enough to keep him within striking distance, but could have been much better.
The biggest problem for Woods over the last 11 holes was his approach shots. It's been an issue for the fan favorite quite a bit this season. Sometimes he just can't seem to gauge them. He'll need to fix that over the next three days to win his 15th major.
Graeme McDowell (-3)
The 2010 U.S. Open champion almost won his second crown at that event last month before fading in the final round. McDowell set himself for another run at a marquee tournament with a 67 to begin his British Open quest.
While he has never finished inside the top 10 in this event, the course definitely fits his playing style. He ranks second on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy. With the long rough a major concern, that's going to be a huge advantage for him.
McDowell is a streaky player. Bogeys usually come in bunches when his game is a little bit off, so consistency will be the crucial factor over the final three days. That said, he definitely has the game to pull off a victory on this course.
|1||Adam Scott||-6 (F)|
|T-2||Paul Lawrie||-5 (F)|
|T-2||Zach Johnson||-5 (F)|
|T-4||Tiger Woods||-3 (F)|
|T-4||5 Other Golfers||-3|