The 2013 British Open is shaping up to be a good one, folks.
Day 1 of The Open at Muirfield was full of interesting twists as the players attempted to navigate a course that played very fast throughout the day.
Some players like Zach Johnson were able to tame the course on the first day. The 37-year-old got off to a terrific start on Thursday, shooting a 66 to get five-under-par. Others didn't have the same luck. Here's a look at how the leaderboard shook out after the first day.
Johnson was obviously one of the bigger stories on the day. As Jason Sobel of the Golf Channel points out, we shouldn't be all that surprised that he's crushing it early on at Muirfield—he nearly won the John Deere Classic twice.
Zach Johnson nearly won twice in the John Deere playoff. Neither chip nor putt would drop. Consolation prize? First-round lead at Muirfield.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) July 18, 2013
Now that it appears he has a great feel for the green it's safe to assume he's going to be a name to watch for the rest of the major. Per Justin Ray of ESPN, Johnson's hot start with the putter was the key to his success.
Zach Johnson: 8 one-putts through 12 holes. Johnson is T-136th on @PGATOUR in 1-putt pct this year. Was 8th in 2012.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) July 18, 2013
Even with the great round behind him, Johnson acknowledged that the course conditions are not ideal, according to the PGA Tour's Twitter:
Zach Johnson: "It's just so dry out there right now. The fairways are running as fast as the greens." #TheOpen— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 18, 2013
Of course Johnson wasn't the only player in the spotlight. Anytime Tiger Woods tees off at a major he's bound to draw attention. After going two-under-par in the first round, he's sure to continue to be a focus. He's just three shots behind Johnson heading into Day 2.
One reason for his success was the distance he was getting thanks to the fast fairways. As he told ESPN via GolfWorld he hit a six-iron 285 yards at one point.
Tiger Woods to ESPN after his 2-under 69: "It got quick. It got really quick. It's still fiery out there." Says he hit a 6-iron 285 yards!— Golf World (@GolfWorldUS) July 18, 2013
Another reason for his success was that he was reading the greens very well. He was one of just three golfers to have 10 one-putts according to the Golf Channel's Tiger Tracker.
Tiger was one of 3 players on Thursday with 10 1-putts.— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) July 18, 2013
Rory McIlroy also made waves on the first day. But for all the wrong reasons. His woes at major tournaments continued at Muirfield as he ended up at T-134 on the leaderboard as he went eight-over-par.
As John Buccigross of ESPN notes, McIlroy is now 24-over-par in majors this year.
Rory McIlroy: 8-over 79 today worst-ever opening round at a major. McIlroy is now a combined 24-over par in majors this year #chopchop— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) July 18, 2013
Not the kind of performance you'd expect from the No. 2 player in the world.
Other notables in Day 1 included Jordan Spieth, the 19-year-old phenom who picked up his first PGA victory at the John Deere Classic last week. He finished at two-under-par on the day and greatly increased his odds of winning the whole thing, per Kyle Porter of CBS Sports.
Jordan Spieth is now 20-1 to win the 2013 British Open, started at 150-1.— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) July 18, 2013
After Day 1's action it wouldn't be surprising to see the rising star pull it off. It's still a wide open field as we prepare for Day 2.