The Open: Live Blog from Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Live Blog from the Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, Liverpool, England. We will bring you updates through the day as we report directly from the grounds of this challenging Links Course.

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Claret Jug - The Open

Southport, July 20, 2017: The Open Championships have set sail and a wet windy morning is making the golfers sweat with trepidation under cold, cloudy and damp conditions. We are on course for you and stay with us for live updates through the day.

2350: Defending champion Henrik Stenson did not disappoint too. He posted a 69 to end the first day, four strokes off the pace but he will not be too concerned about that.

2348: Rory McIlroy may be lagging in the stakes, but credit to him for fighting back from +5 through 6 holes to be +2 after the 17th. His sheet has been clean as a whistle from the 7th hole. He can end his round and look forward to posting a low score tomorrow morning to restore balance.

2345: As we approach the end of the first day’s play, this is how the grand gold and blue leaderboard looks at #TheOpen

Open Leaderboard
Open Leaderboard

2118: McIlroy finds the fairway on the ninth and his fans heave a sigh of relief. It is that kind of day for the Northern Irishman. He is still five over through eight holes and faces the knife tomorrow unless he fixes this quickly.

2055: The forecast for tomorrow includes rain and winds, so all these men in the red will be served well. There are 15 men under par right now with their feet on a table. Several others too, but they have work left to do before they can call it their first round score.

2053: Phil Mickelson was in the bunker on the fifth hole. As only he can, chips out to within two feet from the pin. Saved par and stays on even.

2051: Rory McIlroy’s season of misery continues. He is five over through six holes, walking resolutely forward but the energy in his feet is not getting through to his golf clubs.

2050: In case you are just returning from work, Anirban Lahiri and Shiv Kapur endured undulating rounds of golf to sign on a 73 each. Both men hit the practice range straight after their rounds.

2048: Ian Poulter and Justin Thomas are inside the hut too at three under 67. David Lipsky has been on song today, three under with six holes to go.

2047: After all the churn this afternoon, it is Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka, who are sitting pretty at 5-under after their first round. Matt Kuchar fired out on Nitro, five under too through just the first nine holes.

1641: Familiar name at the top. Jordan Spieth is 3-under and in sole possession of the lead. The clubhouse leader though is Stuart Manley who birdies 17 & 18 to go inside at 2-under.

1640: Anirban has hit a rough patch at the turn. He has bogeyed three of the last four holes, four of the last six, as he slips to three over. Meanwhile, Shiv Kapur is holding up nicely, with a sixth straight par. He has four left to play now.

1639: Phachara Khongwatmai is an impressively confident young man. Neither the stage nor the challenge trouble the boy at all. At four over 74 he will have his work cut out tomorrow afternoon.

1520: It is cold out here and the wind is blowing purposefully, intent on making it even more painful for the shivering bodies. But that has done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of The Open fans.

Crowds at the Royal Birkdale
Crowds at the Royal Birkdale

1516: Man in charge is clearly Ian Poulter. He has the crowd with him, the short game has been on song and there is intensity in his eyes. He is hungry and hunting.

Ian Poulter is in charge at The Open
Ian Poulter is in charge at The Open

 

1514: Another Indian bogey here. Anirban has conceded a stroke too, his coming at the treacherous par-4 sixth hole. Back to even now.

1512: Shiv Kapur has taken a body blow at the par-3 seventh hole. He took in a six there and even though he has birdied the eighth to recover a bit, still two over.

1506: This a par-70 course with 34 on the front nine and 36 on the return stretch. Ian Poulter birdied the ninth hole to turn in 32 shots. There are also no par-5s on the front nine here, both come on the back nine – 15 and 17 in quick succession too.

1502: Add Shane Lowry to that list below. The applause for Poulter is turning into quite a crescendo here at Royal Birkdale. There are a lot of people willing him to lift silverware this weekend.

1501: Anirban Lahiri is making a move. He has birdied the fifth hole to move into T2 with a list of golfers that has Russell Henley, Jordan Spieth, Alfie Plant, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama. That is a nice mix of youth and experience right there.

1453: The timeless Thai treasure, Thongchai Jaidee has just made his second birdie of the day, at the par-4 13th hole. After an unholy double bogey at the first hole, the young old man has recovered to even par now.

1451: The fairways hit this week are going to be key. Both Anirban and Shiv are making about 2 out of three right now. They will be looking for more accuracy off the tee.

1446: Shout out for Shiv Kapur. He has navigated the dangerous sixth hole wihout any damage.

1444: Justin Rose has made a fine start. He said he wanted to make up for lost time, looks like he is intent on that. A birdie at the first hole helps him join Plant and Poults in the lead.

1440: Alfie Plant is playing today in the company of Anirban Lahiri and Wesley Bryan. Impressive start for the young man, leading amateur  at one under through four holes.

1415: Phachara Khongwatmai has produced a gem on the 12th hole. He wedged it into the cup from inside a bunker on the par-3 12th hole. Nice par save by the young lad.

1410: Stuart Manley is on even through 12 holes, having made the turn in 34 strokes. He has shown great discipline this morning.

1401: Danny Willett has given away two shots in as many holes. Bogeys at 7 & 8 have slipped him into over par territory. There are only two men under par right now – Ian Poulter (-2) and amateur golfer Alfie Plant (-1).

 

Pin Positions - Round One - Royal Birkdale
Pin Positions – Round One – Royal Birkdale

1359: And then we had two men in T3. Anirban Lahiri wastes no time in making a fine start to his fifth Open Championship. The 67th ranked Indian has started with an even four on the first hole.

1350: A sense of Deja Vu here for Shiv Kapur. Remember, our man was inside the top five in The Open in 2013?

He is back in business again and how? Lying T3 right now, just two strokes behind Ian Poulter. Very early in the day, but it does feel really good to see an Indian flag flutter on the leaderboard.

1340: Meanwhile, we picked Ian Poulter for special mention earlier this week. And the Englishman isn’t letting us down. Birdies at the 2nd and 4th have lifted him to top of the pecking order at The Open. Danny Willett was in a spot of bother at the brutal sixth hole, but saves par to stay at one under.

1338: Let out a cheer people. Shiv is back on even terms with this beast on the coast. He has made a fine birdie at the second hole to erase the damage he took on the first one.

1307hrs: Shiv, uncertain of his ball, floated a provisional, just to be sure. But it wasn’t really needed. He was on the fairway and along with Charles Howell and Mike Lorenzo-Vera, settled for a bogey to begin the Open show.

1306hrs: Shiv Kapur. bold and brave, dressed in black, gets his round going with a driver off the first tee. The Claret Jug, glowing in silver made for a nice contrast in the background as the stocky Indian drove his first ball with a packed grand stand cheering him on.

 

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