Day 1 of the 2013 Irish Open is in the books, and there are plenty of great story lines to examine from the first round at Carton House Golf Club.
Wet course conditions were expected to produce some decent opening-round scores, and several players took full advantage. When play completed for the day, 12 players were at four under or better, including Day 1 leader Oscar Floren at six under with a 66.
But some notable names were excluded from the top of the leaderboard—specifically, Rory McIlroy.
The world No. 2 has struggled mightily this season, and his trouble continued at Carton House with a two-over 74 for the day. Given the favorable scoring conditions of the course, McIlroy will struggle to recoup the eight strokes that currently separate him from Floren.
Let’s take a look at the leaderboard after Day 1 and highlight a few of the top players from the opening round.
|T7||Jose Maria Olazabal||68||-4|
*Full leaderboard can be found at EuropeanTour.com.
Oscar Floren (-6), 1
Floren was absolutely masterful on Day 1 of the Irish Open, firing off a six-under 66 that included no blemishes on his card.
The 29-year-old carded three birdies on the front nine and another on the back, while also eagling the par-four 13th. He was one of only two players in the top 12 without a bogey on his first-round card.
As Floren noted in his post-round interview, he wasn’t forced to deal with the elements as much as some other players, many of whom battled rain and soggy course conditions for much of the day.
But as Floren also stated, his goal is to hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. He did just that on Thursday, and the result was a six under for sole possession of the lead after Day 1.
Paul Casey (-4), T7
Paul Casey carded six birdies in his opening round, but also bogeyed the par-4 first and par-4 16th to sandwich an otherwise spectacular round.
Casey played Carton House’s longer holes particularly well on Thursday, including the 605-yard par-5 fifth and 554-yard par-5 15th, both of which he birdied.
As Casey explained in his post-round interview, the middle of his round was especially difficult, considering the bad weather conditions that yielded plenty of rain. He “held it together” quite well, though, and finished the day just two strokes off the lead.
Jamie Donaldson (-3), T13
Defending champion Jamie Donaldson notched his first European Tour win last season at the Irish Open, and he returned in strong fashion this year with an opening-round 69 to finish the day three back of Floren.
Donaldson got off to a slow start at one-over on the front nine, but he righted the ship with an impressive four under back nine that featured five birdies. If he can carry that momentum into Day 2, the 37-year-old will be in excellent position to defend his title heading into the weekend.
*Videos of post-round interviews available at EuropeanTour.com.