Anirban Lahiri carded a five-over 76 while Shubhankar Sharma had a two-over-73, which placed him tied 72nd on the opening day of the 147th Open Championships in Carnoustie, United Kingdom. Lahiri, who is tied 129th, now has a mountain to climb in his bid for a weekend appearance.
Americans, who have won the last five Majors, and 10 of the last 14, dominated the leaderboard. Kevin Kisner led the field with a five-under 66, which included a colourful stretch of bogey-eagle-par-birdie from fifth. He then had a hat-trick of birdies from the 13th to 15th holes and he survived the famous Carnoustie bite on the 16-18th holes to shoot 66.
In terms of stats, Lahiri found only 20% of the fairways, hit only 50% greens in regulation and needed as many as 31 putts. His bogeys came on the fourth, ninth and 16th holes; he double bogeyed the 10th and there were no birdies.
“It was not the day I was hoping for,” Lahiri was quoted as saying. “I didn’t get off to a good start and after 2-3 holes in, I started tightening up and had a birdie-free round. That’s not the phrase I want to be associated with, but that’s what it was. I missed a lot of shots to the right and that’s not what I do usually. I missed a lot of opportunity early on and didn’t take advantage of the two par-fives and I found too many fairway bunkers.”
He added, “I did not hit many greens in the middle part of the round. I had a chance on the first though. I found too many bunkers and realistically, I did not put myself inside 10 feet enough, but I have been making those 15-18 footers, so I should have. I got my speeds on the green a little wrong; left a couple in the jaw and a couple lipped out. So, I need to work on the speed and tempo. Still 5-over is not where I should be but I still feel I can make a bunch of birdies tomorrow.”
Erik Van Rooyen of South Africa, who qualified for the Open by finishing second behind Shubhankar Sharma at Jo’burg Open, was flawless for 17 holes before dropping a shot on 18th for a four-under 67. Another American Tony Finau showed there were a lot of birdies to be had, eight in total, but he also dropped four bogeys in his 67.
Another South African Zander Lombard was four-under through 15, while Brandon Stone, who shot 60 on Sunday en route to winning the Scottish Open and making it to the Open, carded 68.
Australian Marc Leishman was an aberration on a leaderboard that had loads of Americans and South Africans, and he was three-under through the front nine after being four-under at one stage.
Local man Matthew Southgate, who is a member at Carnoustie and 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett, shot 69 each as did Korean Sung Kang.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth was three-under through 14 holes, before dropping four shots, including a double on 15th and bogeys on 16th and 18th on the treacherous closing stretch.
Masters Champion Patrick Reed shot 75 and US Open champion Brooks Koepka was one-under through two holes.
With inputs from PTI
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