14 Jul 2022 | Professional golf |

Round 1 at The Open: How the Aussies fared

by Dane Heverin

Brad Kennedy tees off during his fantastic four-under first round.
Brad Kennedy tees off during his fantastic four-under first round.

By Dane Heverin at St Andrews

Eleven Australians are in action at St Andrews for the 150th Open and on day one those with the morning tee times utilised the more favourable conditions, while the afternoon groups slugged it out.

Here is a quick recap of how each player fared:

Cameron Smith -5, T3

The top ranked Australian showed his class with a precise putting display to capitalise on birdie chances and secure pars to tucked away pins. He is well-placed only three shots behind breakaway leader American Cameron Young and the coming days will be a test of Smith’s learnings from starting The Masters and the PGA Championship in similar vein this year.

What he said: “It was probably some of the best lag putting I’ve ever done. My putt on the second managed to go in from a fair distance. That was pretty decent. It seemed like I had so many 80, 90, 100-footers out there today and did a good job of getting them down in two.”

Brad Kennedy -4, T5

Kennedy is regularly near the top of leaderboards on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and the Japan Golf Tour, and today he was determined to prove he can take it up to the best players in the world. He did just that with eight birdies to earn massive applause from crowds gathered for playing partner Ernie Els and Tiger Woods.

What he said: “I didn’t expect that today. We had a really nice breeze early on this morning and managed to hit some great iron shots into some tough pins.

“I’ve been playing nicely in Japan. I had a few good weeks of prep back home and I really wanted to come out and see how far I could push myself in terms of what shots I wanted to hit and how to hit them. I’m really happy with the progress so far.”

Min Woo Lee -3, T13

Lee hit the lead after 14 holes of his round after teeing off in the first group of the championship and once again showed his ability to step up on the big stage. The West Australian took a bit of time to adapt to the early start after an early morning laptop mishap.

What he said: “It was such a weird story. So I slept until about 8:30, and set my alarm for 4:30. I was watching Tiger in 2000 at St Andrews, winning here before I slept. 

“For some reason at 4:00 in the morning, I closed the laptop and it started playing when it was closed. So I don't know what was going on. It woke me up at 4:00. It was a good wake-up call, I guess."

Lucas Herbert -2, T27

Herbert pushed his name up the leaderboard early before paring every hole in the back nine as the wind began to pick up. The Victorian played alongside Phil Mickelson and he had a bone to pick with the six-time major champion after he did not sign his cap at the 2011 Presidents Cup.

What he said: “I didn’t give Phil much all day and when we got to the 15th I led the conversation with ‘hey Phil, by the way I hate you’,” Herbert said with a laugh after his two-under par opening round.

“I then explained to him the story. He was very apologetic and I was like ‘I’m kind of ribbing you here’. Then we finished off the round and he signed a glove for me. 

“It says ‘Lucas, 11 years late’ so that’s pretty funny. I’m going to frame this one.”

Adam Scott E, T55

Scott fought back strongly after two bogeys and a double bogey in his first six holes. A three-under back nine put him in a good position to work his way up the leaderboard on Friday morning.

What he said: “It didn’t feel great because of the bad start. I was skating on thin ice the whole round but I managed to pull it back and shoot something respectable. A good morning tomorrow and I can hopefully make up a few shots. Then do the wind dance in the afternoon.”

Jason Scrivener E, T55

Like Scott, Scrivener also clawed his way back from a difficult opening with two bogeys in the first four holes. A birdie at 16 brought him back to even par and he nearly went into the red but his birdie putt at the last slid by the hole.

What he said: “It was tricky. Going out into that wind was tough, hard work and I holed some important bogey putts actually to keep me in it. Then I played nicely on the back nine.”

Anthony Quayle +2, T101

Quayle started his major debut in perfect fashion with a birdie at the first, but the remainder of the front nine was tough going. An even par back nine showed why some of his fellow Australians picked him as one to watch this week.

What he said: “Pretty hard not to love this experience. It would have been nice to have played a bit better. You do get a bit of energy from the crowds here when you hit a good shot though.”

Matt Griffin +2, T101

Griffin, along with Vic Open winner Dimi Papadatos, did not complete his round until nearly 10pm local time and he toughed out the slow play by making two birdies.

Marc Leishman +4, T132

A positive start with a one-under front nine 35 quickly turned sour for Leishman with four bogeys and a double bogey on the back nine spoiling the runner-up from the last Open at St Andrews’ day.

Dimi Papadatos +5, T143

Papadatos battled hard against the winds and dwindling light, and his biggest moment of the day came with a birdie at the last as the sun was nearly set on St Andrews.

Jed Morgan +7, T150

The Australian PGA champion’s Open debut left him shattered as making birdie at the last proved to be his only highlight of the day.

What he said: “It was cool to hear the crowds. I would have rathered them cheering for me. The experience is obviously awesome but I just wish the golf was a bit better.”

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