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The First Round at the Open

July 15, 2010 - Al Stephenson

I have a couple of questions for you.  First of all I want to know if you got up at 4 this morning to watch ESPN's live coverage of the British Open Championship.  If you did, then you are a much bigger fan than me.  When I awoke at nearly 7, some terrific rounds were already under way.

That brings me to my second question.  Whose round do you feel was the most surprising?  I'll let you choose from Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson or John Daly.  While you are thinking about it I will give you my spin.

Rory McIlroy is your first round leader.  The 21 year-old tied the lowest round at St. Andrews as he shot a 9-under par 63.  Admittedly the Old Course was pretty defenseless for the morning golfers (McIlroy was among those) but 9-under?  Did you see that coming from a guy that is so young and who also missed the cuts in the year's first two majors?  Maybe you did.

Remember Quail Hollow where he shot a sizzling 61 on Sunday?  The kid may just be the next Tiger as he has a strong and flawless swing.  Will he hold on for the title?  Maybe, but  my guess is he won't shoot that low again this week.

Tiger Woods appeared more like, well, Tiger Woods than he has since returning to the game following personal issues.  Is he back?  Probably not.  Will he win the tournament?  He just might.  The way he played, shooting a 5-under par 67, had to be somewhat surprising given his efforts coming into the Open.  If you are following only Tiger ( if so,you are not a serious fan of the game) you can sleep in tomorrow.  He will tee off at a more reasonable hour in round two.

Lefty had a somewhat mediocre one over par 73.  Surprised?  Not really.  He played in the afternoon when the winds picked up.  He's not out of it, but he has work to do.

The view from my seat suggests that the most surprising round has to go to John Daly.  He shoots 66 (tied for third) and it could have been so much better.  He had several putts hit the cup and spin out.  He could easily have been tied with McIlroy, and I don't think anyone saw this coming.

He is ranked 455th in the world and his best finish this year has been a tie for 24th in the Puerto Rico Open.  I'm betting the top pros didn't make that tournament.  Still Daly is a former Open champion and though he may follow up today's round with an 86 tommorrow, for one day he was back.

That, I think, is a good thing. 


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