The third major championship of the season is underway from Muirfield.
It’s still early, but we’ve seen some very good opening rounds and some very bad ones. The rough is extremely thick, and if one shot goes a little bit too far to the left or right, it could ruin someone’s entire day. Hitting accurate tee shots is going to be vital to hoisting the Claret Jug Sunday afternoon.
While many golfers have still yet to tee off Thursday, here are some Day 1 scores for three notable names on the PGA Tour.
Where: Muirfield, Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland
When: Thursday, July 18
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Real-Time Leaderboard Updates: The Open
K.J. Choi, +5
K.J. Choi has only cracked the top 10 at The Open Championship once in his career on the PGA Tour and that came six years ago. It’s a long road ahead for Choi if he’s hoping to finish that high in 2013.
He was all over the place at Muirfield Thursday, as he was very far from consistent. Choi shot two-over on the front nine, bogeying the fourth, eighth and ninth holes while birdieing the sixth.
The back nine was even worse, as he double-bogeyed the 10th hole. He birdied the 11th but bogeyed the following hole. He was one-over on the last four holes to finish at five-over on the day.
Choi only hit 55.6 percent of greens in regulation and needed 3.1 putts each time he did get on the green in regulation. He’s usually much better than he played on Thursday. On the season, he ranks 35th on the PGA Tour in GIR percentage and 21st in strokes-gained through putting.
He’ll need to turn things around Friday.
Stewart Cink, +1
The 2009 British Open champion got off to a good start Thursday at Muirfield. Stewart Cink was two-under on the front nine. Unfortunately for him, the back nine was an utter disaster.
Cink bogeyed four of the first six holes on the back end of the course to finish one-over for the opening round.
The biggest problem for Cink in the first round was that he wasn’t very accurate off the tee. He only hit 50 percent of the fairways. He's going to have to work on that going forward for sure. Luckily for him, he was good at landing the ball on the green in regulation. He hit two-thirds of the greens in regulation.
Throughout the season, Cink ranks 18th on the PGA Tour in GIR percentage at 68.79 percent. He’ll need to continue to be that accurate if he’s going to have a shot of winning the Claret Jug.
But he isn’t out of the woods yet, as he has to be a better putter too. He needed 2.7 putts per hole on Thursday. That’s not going to help his cause.
John Senden, +6
John Senden has never finished in the top 30 at The Open Championship in his career. It doesn’t appear that 2013 is going to be the year where he finishes in the top 20 or better. Senden had a disastrous opening round at Muirfield, and it’s going to be extremely difficult to work his way back.
After double-bogeying the first hole, he then bogeyed the next two. That’s not the start that anyone looks to have. He did birdie the fourth and fifth holes, but he continued to struggle throughout the round. He finished the day with one double-bogey, seven bogeys and three birdies.
Senden’s putter was his worst enemy Thursday. He averaged three putts per green in regulation, which isn't going to cut it. Putting has been an issue for Senden all year, as he ranks 142nd on the PGA Tour in total putting. If he doesn’t solve his putting problems Friday, he likely won’t be playing the weekend.