Sports

Oosthuizen leads Spieth back to open normally

Sandwich, England-(AP)-Jordan Spieth rolled on the putt as in 2017. Louis Oosthuizen jumped to the top of the leaderboard, discouraging the runner-up finish in the last two majors. They gave the British Open a familiar atmosphere on Thursday.

Normality has returned to the wind-exposed links of the Royal St George’s in other ways.

The roar and cheers of the largest golf crowd since the pandemic wandered around this quirky course off Sandwich Bay, as it did before COVID.

For Spieth, it was as welcomed as being an open candidate again.

“From the first tee to the end, I feel it’s the most common tournament I’ve ever played compared to the same tournament I’ve ever played,” Spieth said.

His 65-year-old, under the age of 5, did set back four years ago when he lifted the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale, the last British venue to host the British Open. He was hitting the ball more than ever.

Spieth was off the lead of West Hazen, who saved a par 6 under 64 from the 18th fairway bunker. This marked the lowest opening round at the Royal St Georges previously set by Christy O’Connor Jr. 1981.

It didn’t look like after South Africa opened with seven straight pars. He continued six birdies in the next nine holes.

“I’ve learned that patience is important for years at the major championships,” said Oosthuizen, who hasn’t won since the 2010 British Open in St Andrews. Since then, majors including the last two.

West Hazen and Spieth were one of the morning starters who enjoyed the best conditions, including soft bounces on the most rugged fairways and greens on open rotations.

Still, many of the best in the world were not available.

US Open champion Jon Rahm hit his thighs with frustration after double bogey on number 9 and then two shots to get out of the fairway pot bunker. 71 like Bryson DeChambeau who spent many of his first rounds up to his knees in the deep grass after he couldn’t use his power to overwhelm the Royal St Georges Shot-and cursed his driver by saying “suck”.

2019 Open winner Shane Lowry also shot 71 in front of 32,000 spectators this week. Since Raleigh’s victory at the Royal Portrush, I’ve never seen many spectators pass through the gates in golf tournaments.

Raleigh could finally be announced as an open and champion golfer as last year’s event was canceled due to a pandemic.

“It was a very special day for me,” he said.

The majority of afternoon starters who encountered longer gusts from the English Channel and slightly dry conditions were not.

Rory McIlroy saved 70 in his final birdie, aiming for his first major title in seven years. Justin Thomas shot 72. Phil Mickelson shot 80. This was the best start ever at the British Open and he was drawn to the last place.

Benjamin Eberle and Webb Simpson finished fourth with the other three in the 66th round, scoring the highest scores in the afternoon. Former PGA champion Collin Morikawa was the first link test, and British favorite Tommy Fleetwood was 67 years old.

Fleetwood wants to be the first Englishman to name his silver jug ​​since Nick Faldo in 1992.

“It’s been a long time since the British won the open. I want to be the next open, so we’ll see,” Fleetwood said.

Brian Harman made 5 birdies in the first 8 holes, finished 65 and then tied for second with Spieth. Top-ranked Dustin Johnson said he was happy to hit 14 greens in the regulation and draw him in 68 rounds. 19th.

Spieth hasn’t won since Burkedale until he ended the slump at the Valero Texas Open in April. He looked happier than anyone else on Thursday and said he liked where his game was after matching the lowest score in the open. He also had 65 on the first day in Berkdale.

He then mentioned the victory as he ran through four straight birdies starting at number 5, making a putt on former caddy John Wood (part of the US broadcast team) as in 2017, and Wood saw it. He said it was the way he was. he. Wood was caddy in the final round at Berkdale for second-placed Matt Kuchar.

“The first thing I felt here was at least a little shape, a little confidence, and really my starting line off the tee,” Spieth said.

Only West Hazen was in front of him. And that wasn’t a real shock given South Africa’s lead in the first and third rounds of the US Open last month and the second round of the PGA Championship in May.

As the crowd returned, it felt like a proper opening that captivated some of the biggest galleries of the day, starting with a blue, cloudless sky, especially on the hills overlooking Par 3’s 6th hole. ..

Just before noon, the group, including Stewart Cink, Lee Westwood, and Martin Kaymer, all hit a tee shot within 6 feet of the pin. As they walked towards the green, one spectator shouted, “You must be three professionals.”

Kaimer’s caddy, Craig Connolly, crossed the green and replied, “You must be a comedian.”

“The fans here feel very familiar with the sport, and they have a great time,” Spieth said.

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Steve Douglas can be found at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80