Apparently the pep talk Steve Williams gave Adam Scott on the driving range before the first round at The Open Championship today worked, Scott found himself at the main console in the control room at Lytham St. Annes with the lead after shooting an inter-stellar 64 today.
Williams advice was to play the first round with a sense of urgency as he has done in later rounds of the majors this year. Scott said, “It’s what I haven’t done the first rounds of majors this year….to play today like it was Sunday and there was no tomorrow”.
If not for an errant 2 iron into the cosmic hay on the final hole that led to a bogie, Scott’s round of 8 birdies, including 5 in 6 holes on the back nine, had him looking at 63 which does not happen very often in a major.
Success at Lytham is about controlling your tee ball and staying out of the 200+ bunkers that make this course look like a piece of very moldy swiss cheese. He hit 71% of the fairways and 72% of the greens which is a formula for success, especially with lethargic greens that are only stimping about 10. Scott has a swing to die for and the pedigree to win majors so no one should be surprised at this performance.
The benign conditions kept many of the big name fly boys on the leader board which will make for an intriguing leader board this weekend. Seven major winners are among the top 12 scores after the first round. Three dozen players shot rounds in the 60’s today including Eldrick Woods, Paul Lawrie, Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell, and Rory Mcilroy.
Rory had it going pretty well until he plunked a teenager on the head with his tee ball on the 15th and the ball caromed out of bounds leading to a double bogey. After giving the boy a signed glove on which he wrote “Sorry” Rory joked later “He could have headed it the other way and it would have been in the fairway”. Rory rebounded with birdies on two of the last three to stay in touch with the leaders.
This is the Open Championship so the wind and the rain, all but absent today, will have it’s say over the next few days and that will change everything. When that happens, as Scott says, he is “just going to have to knuckle down to handle that. But I’m confident. My ball striking is good. I think I can get it around no matter what the conditions are.”
If Scott is to win this major championship and “go where he has not gone before” he will need to heed the experienced guidance from Spock on the bag and get a few good breaks to help navigate the hidden space bumps The Aussie Enterprise will undoubtedly encounter along the way.