Cameron Young's blemish-free 64 led the way after the first round of the 150th Open Championship, with Rory McIlroy firmly in contention at St Andrews.

Tournament debutant Young, who finished in a tie for third at this year's US PGA Championship, made the turn in 31 and picked up three more strokes on the way in to close on eight under.

McIlroy, who was defending champion but missed out through injury the last time the home of golf hosted this event in 2015, birdied the 18th to sign for a 66.

Tiger Woods faces a struggle to make the cut after the 15-time major winner carded an error-strewn 78 that included a double-bogey six at the first.

Claret Jug holder Collin Morikawa is eight shots off the pace after an even-par 72, while world number one Scottie Scheffler looms large at four under.

A host of putative contenders failed to keep pace with the leading pack, with Jon Rahm one over alongside Brooks Koepka, while Justin Thomas was one stroke better off.

It was Paul Lawrie who had the honour of getting this landmark edition of golf's oldest major under way, and the Scot finished his round with an eagle to post a 74.

There was huge disappointment for 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, who was forced to withdraw after suffering a back injury.


There will be no shortage of lengthy eagle putts on offer this week, with several of the greens on the many par fours reachable off the tee.

Ian Poulter had one such opportunity on the ninth, his drive leaving him with a putt of around 160 feet which he duly sunk.

That miraculous shot will have helped to soothe the Englishman's pain at being booed on the first tee, a reaction to his decision to join LIV Golf – though he claimed not to hear any jeers.


English amateur Barclay Brown put himself in some esteemed company at the top end of the leaderboard following a stellar 68.

The 21-year-old, who qualified with a three-stroke win at Hollinwell late last month, handled the occasion brilliantly as he sunk five birdies and just one bogey.

Brown finished four strokes better off than the next best amateurs, with Sam Bairstow and Keita Nakajima both even par.


Paul Lawrie: "I was surprised how many people were there to be honest. I wasn't expecting that. I thought there would be a few, but the stand on the right was pretty full. Nice to see all the people. You always get great support here." 

Barclay Brown: "I was unbelievably nervous at the start. And then once I got through the first couple of holes, yeah, it was nice to kind of calm down a little bit and hit some good shots and just get into it."

Scottie Scheffler: "There's a few holes where I don't know if it's possible to even hit the fairway, like if you're going to take the bunkers out of play, you can't hit the fairway."


- Since 1939, every winner at St Andrews has been within three shots of the lead after the first round.

- Tiger Woods' round took more than six hours, with the three-time Open winner teeing off in a group at 14:59 BST (local time) and taking his final shot of the day at 21:07.

- England's Matt Ford made his Open Championship debut at the age of 44 and signed for a 71.

Rory McIlroy was thrilled with his first-round 66 at the 150th Open Championship and is determined to back it up with another strong showing on Friday.

The four-time major winner sat two shots behind clubhouse leader Cameron Young after a superb opening round at St Andrews, with only one blemish on his scorecard.

McIlroy came close to an eagle on the last but settled for a birdie that left him six under and firmly in the mix.

"That was just sort of what you hope will happen when you're starting off your week," he said.

"I did everything that you're supposed to do around St Andrews. I birdied the holes that are birdieable and I made pars at the holes where you're sort of looking to make a par and move to the next tee. I didn't really put myself out of position too much.

"So, overall, really pleased. It's another good start at a major. Three in a row for me now. And looking forward to the next few days.

"Everything feels very settled. No real issues with my game. Everything feels like it's in good shape. Everything feels just sort of nice and quiet, which is a nice way to be."

Despite his evident satisfaction, the 2014 Champion Golfer of the Year, who was injured and unable to defend that title at St Andrews in 2015, knows he cannot rest on his laurels.

"I need to go out and back up what I just did," he said. "I think that's important to do.

"But again, this golf course isn't going to change that much, I don't think, in terms of conditions.

"I've seen the golf course now in tournament play and tournament conditions and know what to expect. I've just got to go out and back up what I've done."

While McIlroy enjoyed a fine start, the same could not be said for 15-time major winner Tiger Woods, who was four over through six holes and facing an uphill struggle to make the weekend.

Reigning champion Collin Morikawa signed for an even-par 72, while English amateur Barclay Brown made a name for himself with a 68.

World number one Scottie Scheffler looms large on four under after 11 holes.

Justin Rose has pulled out of The Open at St Andrews after suffering a back injury, with Rikuya Hoshino taking his place.

The 2013 U.S. Open champion was due to tee off at the 150th Open in a group with fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and 2018 Claret Jug winner Francesco Molinari.

However, the former world number one was unable to join his Ryder Cup team-mates as Hoshino instead completed the trio.

Rose's best placing at golf's oldest major came in the year Molinari won at Carnoustie, when he finished in a tie for second.

Paul Lawrie had the honour of getting the action under way at the Fife links on Thursday, with a host of big-name contenders waiting in the wings.

Defending champion Collin Morikawa goes out at 09:58 BST (local time) with four-time major winner Rory McIlroy and the in-form Xander Schauffele for company. 

Another trio sure to draw a big following will head out at 14:59, when Tiger Woods and U.S. Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick will be joined by Max Homa.

Woods, who has won two of his three Open titles at St Andrews, said playing this tournament at the home of golf was a major motivating factor for him to return to fitness after his car crash last February. 

World number one Scottie Scheffler goes out at 13:26 alongside Joaquin Niemann and Tyrrell Hatton, while Jon Rahm is also an afternoon starter in a group that includes 2017 winner Jordan Spieth.

Conditions appear favourable on Scotland's east coast, with the fairways firm and receptive greens, although wind speeds may cause some problems at various points across the four days of competition. 

The 150th Open Championship got under way on Thursday as Paul Lawrie had the honour of hitting the first tee shot, with a host of Claret Jug contenders waiting to take to the course at St Andrews.

Scotland's Lawrie, Champion Golfer of the Year in 1999, got things up and running at the Fife links in a group alongside Webb Simpson and Lee Min-woo, with all three finding the first hole's generously wide fairway.

Defending champion Collin Morikawa goes out at 09:58 BST (local time) with four-time major winner Rory McIlroy and the in-form Xander Schauffele for company. 

Another trio sure to draw a big following will head out at 14:59, when Tiger Woods and U.S. Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick will be joined by Max Homa.

Woods, who has won two of his three Open titles at St Andrews, said playing this tournament at the home of golf was a major motivating factor for him to return to fitness after his car crash last February. 

World number one Scottie Scheffler goes out at 13:26 alongside Joaquin Niemann and Tyrrell Hatton, while Jon Rahm is also an afternoon starter in a group that includes 2017 winner Jordan Spieth.

Conditions appear favourable on the Fife coast, with the fairways firm and receptive greens, although wind speeds may cause some problems at various points across the four days of competition. 

Rory McIlroy finds it hard to foresee any player shooting 59 or under at The Open Championship on the challenging Old Course that Tiger Woods says 'still stands the test of time'.

With a fair forecast in Scotland and the big-hitting stars descending on the final major of the year, many are expecting low scores across the weekend at the 150th Open.

The lowest round ever shot at a men's major was carded by Branden Grace, who managed 62 at Royal Birkdale in 2017.

McIlroy, the 2014 champion, shares the lowest round (63) at The Open at St Andrews alongside Paul Broadhurst, but does not envisage any player carding a sub-60 round.

"Fifty-nine is 13 under par round this golf course. There are 7,300 yards," said McIlroy, who has finished no lower than eighth at the first three majors in 2022.

"It's got greens that are running at 10-and-a-half to 11 [considered medium speed], it's got fairways where the ball is bouncing 50 yards if it's hit and more if it catches the downslope.

"I'll tell you what if someone shoots that [13 under] I will be the first person on the 18th green to shake their hand because they have played outstanding golf."

Woods is no stranger to success at St Andrews, where two of his three Claret Jugs have come, sitting in an exclusive club with Bob Martin, JH Taylor, James Braid and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win two Opens at the home of golf.

The American, who has battled injury struggles and retirement fears to feature at what could be his final St Andrews Open, echoed the sentiments of McIlroy as he outlined the challenges ahead.

"Even with the advancements in technology, this golf course still stands the test of time," Woods said. 

"It's still very difficult, and it's obviously weather dependent. You get the winds like we did today, it's a helluva test.

"On 10, I hit a six-iron from 120 yards. It was blowing so hard. So you just don't get – you just don't have opportunities to hit shots like that anywhere else.

"Then again, if you get a calm day on this golf course, you can see some players probably have four to five eagle putts. It is weather dependent.

"The fairways, I think right now, are faster than the greens. So it's funny, when you hit some of the chip shots and some of the bump-and-runs, you have to allow more speed early, then play for breaks when they hit the green.

"Again, with the amount of slope that's on these greens, if they get them too fast, it's unplayable when the wind gets up.

"We saw that when Louis [Oosthuizen] won. We had a wind-out. We don't want that to happen. And it's understandable why they're a little bit on the slower side."

Darren Clarke believes he has "a few more decent days left on the golf course" after revealing he turned down the offer of joining the LIV Golf Invitational.

Clarke, who won The Open in 2011, is competing at St Andrews this week in the season's final major.

It marks the 150th anniversary of The Open Championship, golf's oldest major.

Yet the lingering dispute over LIV Golf - the Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway tour - continues to cast a shadow over the sport.

Clarke has now revealed he was approached to take up a broadcast role for LIV Golf, an option that the Northern Irishman was keen to explore.

However, his desire to continue playing on the PGA Tour meant he had to turn it down.

"I could still have gone and done it but it would have basically meant me retiring from playing professional golf. I wasn't ready to do that just yet," Clarke said, as quoted by BBC Sport.

"Unfortunately I asked for permission to do it and it was denied, [I am] not allowed to do it as part of my PGA Tour membership.

"I respect that decision. I would love to have gone and done it and played both but they decided in their rules and regulations that it wasn't viable for me to do so.

"I want to play. Hopefully I've got a few more decent days left on the golf course and I wasn't ready to hang the clubs up just yet."

While Clarke understands why golfers would take up the chance to play on the lucrative tour, he believes it is fair that there are consequences for those decisions.

"I can understand why the guys have done it. That's fine, they get paid a lot of money to go and join the LIV tour," the 53-year-old added.

"It's a different question if you ask should those guys be allowed to play. It's like asking should Liverpool be allowed to play in the Premier League and go play in LaLiga at the same time?

"As [DP World Tour chief executive] Keith Pelley said, every action comes with consequences. So if you want to go and do this, then you can't do that.

"It's not my position to say what's right and what's wrong but at the moment the rules are that those guys are ineligible to play."

The Open Championship boasts a history practically unmatched in the sporting world, with the famous St Andrews primed to host the 150th edition of golf's oldest major this week.

As the world's best players prepare to tee it up at the home of golf, all in the field will be hoping to write their names into the pages of this storied event.

Ahead of what promises to be a thrilling week of action on the east coast of Scotland, Stats Perform has delved into the history books to bring you the most intriguing facts and figures surrounding the most historic of golf's majors.


Nobody boasts more Open triumphs than the six claimed by the legendary Harry Vardon, who first prevailed in 1896 and last lifted the Claret Jug in 1914.

But for every winner there are those who nurse the heartbreak of narrowly missing out, and nobody became more familiar with that feeling than Jack Nicklaus.

With 18 major wins to his name, including three at The Open, it might be a stretch to summon too much sympathy for Nicklaus, but he had to make do with finishing second or in a tie for second on no fewer than seven occasions. 


When Collin Morikawa won at Royal St George's last year, he became the 10th player to taste success on debut.

That tells you that most players have to be patient when it comes to laying hands on the famous silverware, and for some that wait never ends.

But there are those for whom persistence has paid off handsomely – namely Darren Clarke and Phil Mickelson, who both finally triumphed at the 19th time of asking.



Only seven players have enjoyed wire-to-wire victories at a 72-hole Open, whereby they have held the outright lead at the end of all four rounds.

Rory McIlroy was the most recent example, achieving the feat at Royal Liverpool in 2014.

The last player to manage it at St Andrews was a certain Tiger Woods in 2005 – the second of his three Open wins as he retained his title the following year.


In 2010, St Andrews was the stage for the lowest opening round by an eventual winner as Louis Oosthuizen flew out of the traps with a 65.

Jordan Spieth equalled that with his first-round effort at Royal Birkdale in 2017, which was the year after Henrik Stenson had showed the importance of finishing with a flourish when his closing 63 saw off the challenge of Phil Mickelson at Royal Troon.

It also helps if your middle two rounds are solid, but very few players manage to put together four consistent sets of 18. Indeed, Woods is the only player to card four sub-70 rounds at St Andrews, doing so en route to his 2005 victory.


There is arguably no other sport that tests the psychological limits of its protagonists more than golf, which has seen more than its fair share of mental meltdowns.

Many will be familiar with the nightmare story of Jean Van de Velde's Open collapse in 1999 when he below a five-stroke lead after 54 holes – his hopes left to drown in Carnoustie's Barry Burn.

But that is not the biggest lead surrendered at The Open, with that dubious honour still belonging to Abe Mitchell, who led by six after two rounds in 1920 but ended up four adrift of champion George Duncan.

Everything has led to this.

That is the slogan for this year's Open Championship, with golf's oldest major celebrating its 150th edition this week.

Delayed a year by the COVID-19 outbreak, which forced the postponement of the 2020 tournament at Royal St George's – the first time since 1945 that the Open had not been played – this proud old competition will bring up its landmark at St Andrews, the home of golf.

Even against the backdrop of the LIV Golf furore, nothing can detract from the grandeur of an Open Championship at this famous links course.

The Saudi-backed breakaway tour has of course been a recurring topic here on Scotland's east coast this week, but the truly enlivening subject – the one which has prompted the most passionate discussion – has been the Open itself; its history, its prestige, its status as an iconic event that transcends the sport itself.

And that sense of occasion is heightened by The Open's homecoming to the handsome Old Course – the oldest in the world – which clings to the Fife Coast still now, 470 years after being established there.

It may be considered good form for players to speak kindly of any host venue, but none has ever drawn such glowing praise as this storied links, which is staging The Open for the 30th time – more than any other venue on the rotation. 


Those who have had the honour of playing here many times before and those who are set to embrace the St Andrews experience for the first time are united in their excitement for what is in store.

Reigning champion Collin Morikawa, whose maiden Open appearance ended in glory down in Kent last year, experienced the golfing equivalent of love at first sight when he pitched up at the Fife track.

"I love it. I can see why guys love it. I can see how special this week can be. I can see how the course can play a million different ways, depending on the weather," he breathlessly declared.

Rory McIlroy, deprived by injury of defending his title when the tournament was last played here in 2015, described winning The Open at St Andrews as "the holy grail" of golf, and all the ingredients are there for another memorable edition this time around.

The course has been basking in sunshine all week and attendees will continue to enjoy fine weather for the remainder of it, while the course set-up in general means a star-studded field will fancy their chances of carding some low-scoring rounds.

Monday's Celebration of Champions event, which saw the likes of McIlroy and Jordan Spieth entertain sizeable crowds alongside all-time greats such as Gary Player and Tom Watson, also welcomed Tiger Woods back to the course where he lifted the Claret Jug in 2000 and 2005.

His presence always adds another level of intrigue, ensuring grandstands are full and even casual observers have a familiar name to lure them in to the spectacle of it all. The man himself said "this does feel like it's the biggest Open Championship we've ever had".

Woods is one legendary name to adorn the pages of The Open's illustrious history book, and whoever lifts the Claret Jug at the 150th championship at St Andrews will join the 15-time major winner in achieving a kind of sporting immortality.

Everything has indeed led to this.

Tiger Woods was desperate not to miss the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews, revealing playing at the home of golf was his focus once he knew he could compete at a high level.

Woods' future in the sport was in doubt following a car accident in February last year that left him with compound fractures in his right leg and a shattered ankle.

He said in November that his full-time career as a pro was over, however, he committed to playing a few events a year and made the weekend at The Masters in April.

Woods then played at the US PGA Championship, only to withdraw after three rounds due to a pain in his right leg, and did not compete at the U.S. Open last week.

Yet the 46-year-old was determined to tee off at St Andrews, where he won the first two of his three Claret Jugs and will tee off in a group also featuring U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Max Homa.

He told a media conference on Tuesday: "For the most part of my rehab I was just I was hoping that I could walk again, you know, walk normal and have a normal life and maybe play a little hit-and-giggle golf with my son or my friends at home.

"But lo and behold, I've played championship golf this year. And once I realised that I could possibly play at a high level, my focus was to get back here at St Andrews to play in this championship being, as I said, it's the most historic one we've ever had. I just didn't want to miss this Open here at the home of golf.

"This has meant so much to me. This is where I completed the career Grand Slam. At the time I had the record in scoring in all four major championships. So it meant a lot to me. This venue has meant a lot.

"I remember coming around here, my very first practice round, I couldn't believe how stupidly hard this place is because I played every hole into the wind. I happened to have the tide change, and I played every hole into the wind. Where do you drive some of these par-fours? This is not what people say it is. All of a sudden it changes, and I see, no, these bunkers are now in play.

"It's amazing the ingenuity that they had then that this golf course has stood the test of time to the best players."

Asked earlier if the build-up feels different as The Open celebrates 150 years, Woods replied: "It really does. It feels more historic than it normally has. And it's hard to believe that because we are coming back to the home of golf. It is history every time we get a chance to play here.

"But there's so much that's going on this week that to be able to play yesterday with Lee Buck and to hear him chatting the entire time over every shot as he's hitting the shot, and just to be able to have that type of experience. And tonight we're going to have our Champions' Dinner, because we only do it here.

"It's hard to believe, it's been 150 years we've played this tournament, and it's incredible, the history behind it, the champions that have won here. As I said, it's hard to believe it's more historic, but it really is. It does feel like that. This does feel like it's the biggest Open Championship we've ever had."

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