GRILLO MOVES INTO SHARE OF LEAD
HOYLAKE, England (AP) — Emiliano Grillo rolled in a birdie putt from 51 feet at No. 18 to take a share of the lead at the British Open on 5-under par.
It’s now a three-way tie for first place between Grillo, Christo Lamprecht and Tommy Fleetwood.
The par-5 last hole at Royal Liverpool won’t be remembered so fondly by a slew of other players during the first round, particularly Kho Taichi.
The player from Hong Kong took four strokes in a greenside bunker on the 18th on the way to shooting a 10 for a 12-over 83.
Rickie Fowler had an 8 there in his round of 72 after twice going out of bounds. Ryan Fox (78) also had an 8 after his drive went out of bounds.
WHAT TO KNOW
— South African amateur Christo Lamprecht is a big man with a big game
— A brown British Open turns green
— Rasmus and Nicolai first set of twins playing the British Open
— New hole on an old links getting all the attention at Royal Liverpool
— Niemann among LIV players wondering if this major is their last
MCILROY AND RAHM MAKE SLOW STARTS
Rory McIlroy hasn’t made the start he wanted at the British Open.
A putt from 3 feet for par at No. 8 horseshoed the cup and stayed out as McIlroy reached the turn at 1 over. The only birdie of his first round came at the second hole.
Jon Rahm isn’t faring any better. His front nine contained eight pars and a bogey.
None of the afternoon starters have come close to surpassing the leaders at 5 under. Antoine Rozner of France is alone in third place after a 4-under 67.
RORY MCILROY STARTS OPEN JOURNEY
Rory McIlroy has begun a much anticipated start in the British Open.
McIlroy has been the primary focus this week as he tries to end nine years without a major on a links course where he won the last time the Open was at Royal Liverpool.
He was among the last groups to tee off. McIlroy sent his opening tee shot well to the right. He missed his next tee shot well to the right. And he started with a par and a 5-foot birdie putt.
McIlroy is playing before the largest gallery of the day. He also has Masters champion Jon Rahm and former U.S. Open and Olympic champion Justin Rose in his group.
The immediate target is Tommy Fleetwood and South African amateur Christo Lamprecht. They opened at 5-under 66.
FLEETWOOD JOINS LAMPRECHT AT THE TOP
Tommy Fleetwood received a big ovation from the local fans after finishing with a 5-under 66 that left him tied for the lead early in the opening round of the British Open.
Fleetwood made one bogey and six birdies, including three straight on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes. The home-crowd favorite finished with consecutive pars to go into the clubhouse tied with South African amateur Christo Lamprecht.
The 32-year-old Fleetwood, playing close to home at Royal Liverpool, is trying to become the first Englishman since Nick Faldo in 1992 to win the British Open. Tony Jacklin, in 1969, was the last Englishman to win an Open in England.
No. 1 Scottie Scheffler closed with a birdie in an up-and-down round of 1-under 70 that included three bogeys. He was in a tie for 12th place.
ETH HELD BY DOUBLE BOGEY, LATE BOGEY
Jordan Spieth was tied for fifth early at the British Open after finishing with a 2-under 69 that included a double bogey and a late bogey on the closing par 5.
Spieth’s chances of a good score at the 18th hole ended when he hit his driver into the fairway bunker and could advance the ball only some 30 yards back to the fairway. He then found the rough to the left side of the green and two-putted for his bogey.
The 2017 champion, Spieth had two early birdies offset by the double bogey at the par-4 eighth, when he took a penalty after driving into the right rough. He made his other birdies on the 11th, 15th and 16th holes.
South African amateur Christo Lamprecht was the early leader after closing with a 5-under 66.
SO FAR SO GOOD FOR MOST PLAYERS AT 17TH HOLE
The much-hyped par-3 17th hole was producing more good scores than bad through the opening round of the British Open.
The 136-yard hole at Royal Liverpool was redesigned to add drama to the tournament this year, challenging players with an elevated green well protected by steep slopes and deep bunkers.
There were seven birdies and only one score of double bogey or worse at the hole early in the opening round.
Lucas Herbert had a triple bogey, with his troubles starting after his tee shot went into the rough to left of the green. He found the deep right-side bunker from there and needed two shots to get out before two-putting.
The wind wasn’t blowing too hard, making it easier for players.
Bryson DeChambeau and Wyndham Clark were among the players who challenged the internal out-of-bounds boundary that cuts into the fairway at the third hole, with both hitting shots that went well left — away from the out-of-bounds trouble.
Some players made big numbers on the hole after hitting out of bounds to the right of the green, including Rasmus Hojgaard, who ended with a quadruple-double eight. Only three players birdied the hole early.
AMATEUR LAMPRECHT LEADS EARLY AFTER OPENING 66
South African amateur Christo Lamprecht surprised by taking the early opening-round lead with a 5-under 66 at the British Open.
Lamprecht, a two-time All-American from Georgia Tech who qualified by winning the British Amateur at nearby Hillside links, closed his solid round with a short birdie putt after reaching the par-5 18th hole in two.
He made three birdies through his first six holes at Royal Liverpool. He had four more birdies after the turn, along with two bogeys on the par-4 11th and par-4 16th.
Lamprecht was two shots clear of 2009 champion Stewart Cink, who was 3 under after 17 holes.
SCHEFFLER MAKES THE TURN AT 1-UNDER PAR
Scottie Scheffler made the turn at 1-under par after two early birdies and a bogey in his opening round at the British Open.
He missed a short putt to drop a shot at the eighth after having made birdies on the second and fourth holes. The world No. 1 was tied for ninth early on.
Jordan Spieth, the 2017 champion, had two early birdies offset by a double bogey at the par-4 eighth. He made another birdie at the par-4 11th to stay at 1 under, also tied for ninth.
There were two early eagles at the par-5 15th — by Lucas Herbert and Thomas Pieters. Pablo Larrazabal eagled the par-5 fifth.
Pieters briefly took the lead after his eagle but immediately fell back following a double bogey on the par-4 16th. He was tied for fourth at 2 under.
South African Christo Lamprecht was leading at 4 under through 17 holes.
JORDAN FINISHES STRONG AFTER HITTING OPENING SHOT
Home-crowd favorite Matthew Jordan finished strong after hitting the opening shot of the British Open, closing with a 2-under-par 69 that left him tied for second early on.
Jordan received a big ovation from the fans at the 18th hole after finishing his round with a par.
A Royal Liverpool member since he was a teenager, Jordan was making his first Open appearance. The Englishman had three birdies on the front nine and another on the second, along with a bogey on each side of the turn.
Christo Lamprecht, a two-time All-American from Georgia Tech who qualified by winning the British Amateur at the nearby Hillside links, was leading at 3 under through 13 holes.
SMITH OPENS TITLE DEFENSE, AMATEUR LEADS
Cameron Smith has started his title defense at the British Open and is chasing a South African amateur holding an unlikely lead at Royal Liverpool.
Smith is looking to do what no player has achieved since Padraig Harrington in 2008 and lift the claret jug in successive years.
The Australian opened with a birdie at the first after a putt from about eight feet.
Christo Lamprecht, a two-time All-American from Georgia Tech who qualified by winning the British Amateur at the nearby Hillside links, reached the back nine at 3 under. He made three birdies in a four-hole stretch from No. 3.
Lamprecht is hard to miss. He stands at 6-foot-8 (2.03 meters) and hits it long off the tee.
He is a shot clear of 2009 champion Stewart Cink, who is 2 under after seven holes.
JORDAN OFF TO A STRONG START
Matthew Jordan enjoyed one thrill when he walked onto the first tee at Royal Liverpool to a rousing ovation before hitting the opening shot. It’s only getting better for the player who knows these links better than anyone.
Jordan has been a Royal Liverpool member since he was a teenager. In his first Open appearance, he had three birdies on the front nine and was 2-under par to set the early target.
Among early starters, Ryan Fox is the only other player to have reached 2 under before dropping back.
Scottie Scheffler, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth are among those playing later in the morning. Rory McIlroy plays late in the afternoon.
ROYAL LIVERPOOL MEMBER JORDAN GETS OPEN STARTED
Matthew Jordan has played Royal Liverpool hundreds of times. Thursday morning was unlike any other. He hit the opening tee shot in the 151st edition of the British Open.
Jordan received a rousing ovation from the grandstand behind the first tee, and then hit driver just left of the pot bunker into the rough. He put his next shot into a bunker left of the green and holed an 8-foot par putt.
It’s not unusual for the R&A to have the first shot struck by a player with local connections. Jordan is different. He is a member at Royal Liverpool and has been since he was a teenager. He made it through qualifying to get into his first British Open.
Jordan gave the gallery more reason to cheer with a birdie on the second hole. Russell Henley would love to have his start back. Playing in the second group, he made double bogey.
The R&A is expecting 260,000 fans for the week.