Kevin Kisner leads the Open after day one
US golfer capitalises on calm conditions at Carnoustie at the start of the first round
Kevin Kisner leads the field after the first day of the Open at Carnoustie with the 34-year-old American posting a five-under-par round of 66.
A shot behind Kisner are the South African duo of Erik van Rooyen and Zander Lombard, and American Tony Finau. The quartet all benefited from the benign weather conditions of the morning, unlike their rivals who teed off later in the day and had to contend with a stiff breeze.
Rory happy with a 69
Rory McIlroy finished with a score of 69, as did world No.2 Justin Thomas, but there was a nightmare round for world No.1 Dustin Johnson, who triple-bogeyed the 18th to post a soul-destroying 76.
“I am happy with 69 and I am happy with my day’s work,” said McIlroy, searching for his first major title in four years. “I think with some of the spots I hit it off the tee I would take it. Even if you are off line you can still play from the rough and that is what I was able to do today.”
Woods battles the wind
Tiger Woods, making his first appearance at the Open for four years, carded an even-par 71, a good afternoon’s work considering that he woke on Thursday morning with neck pain and played his round wearing surgical tape to support his neck. “I was pretty solid all the way around today,” said the American, hunting his 15th major title and his first for a decade. “I was playing to certain spots, wherever the wind kind of gave me. It was plain tricky and I think I played it the right way for me,” he says in the Express.
Kisner gets his kicks
While some of the big names struggled, it was American journeyman Kisner who stole the headlines on day one of the Open, the South Carolina golfer playing with accuracy and audacity while his more illustrious competitors failed to rise to the challenge of Carnoustie.
Afterwards Kisner entertained the press pack with tales of what it was like sharing digs with the likes of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson and Rickie Fowler. “It’s not intimidating at all,” he said of his compatriots who are rivals on the course but friends off it. “They’re all great people… I mean, we’re out there playing soccer at night and hanging out. Everybody is just really chill, and it’s a lot of fun to be around those guys. There’s a lot of great players. It’s really cool just to hear what they have to say.”
Asked who the best football player was among them, Kisner said Spieth was “really good”, although he added quickly: “Until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we’ve got to go knock on the neighbour’s door for the soccer ball.”