The Open 2023: first round – as it happened (2024)

Key events

  • 20 Jul 2023Argentina's Emiliano Grillo shoots 66!
  • 20 Jul 2023England's Tommy Fleetwood shoots 66!
  • 20 Jul 20231.55pm BST leaderboard
  • 20 Jul 2023The amateur Christo Lamprecht shoots 66!
  • 20 Jul 2023Preamble

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20 Jul 202310.33EDT

Birdie at the last for Kim Si-woo and the erstwhile Players champion signs for a 69. A few minutes beforehand, Bob MacIntyre also birdied 18 to limit the damage of an otherwise underwhelming 74. Meanwhile back-to-back birdies at 10 and 11 for the 33-year-old Swede Alexander Bjork, who has played in four previous Opens and never survived the cut. At -3 he’s looking good to snap that sorry sequence, albeit with an awfully long way to go yet.

20 Jul 202310.29EDT

Justin Rose couldn’t get up and down from 100 yards for his par at 1, incidentally. Jon Rahm made his though. Then in the group behind, the 2021 winner Collin Morikawa suffers a cold start, zig-zagging down the rough from right to left, then thinning a chip across the green. He putts up from a swale and taps in for bogey. He’s not won anywhere since his victory at Royal St George’s, which is a jaw-dropping state of affairs considering how good he is. But it’s a strange game, golf, all right.

20 Jul 202310.24EDT

Rory takes his two putts for an opening par. But there was footage of him on the driving range earlier, frowning, chomping on his tongue and narrowing his eyes as he looked on at his own work with concern, and the early evidence of this round explains why. He sends another tee shot miles right, and he doesn’t half like starting an Open slowly, does he?

20 Jul 202310.11EDT

The aforementioned Rory, then. After waiting around all day, the pre-tournament joint-favourite (alongside Scottie Scheffler, who salvaged a round of 70 with birdies at 15 and 18, and will presumably be off to spend some time on the putting green) lashes his opening drive miles right. But he sends his second into the heart of the green, from where he should at least salvage his par. Ditto Jon Rahm. Justin Rose, the third member of the group, finds a fairway bunker down the right and is forced to take a splash-out of medicine. He’ll have plenty of work for his par from distance.

20 Jul 202310.06EDT

Hats off to Wyndham Clark. You’ll have seen the US Open champ hacking his way down 14 (below). Two blows to extricate his ball from difficulty, only to find himself in more rough down the opposite side of the hole. But as Rory McIlroy and the rest of the field found to their cost in LA, Clark doesn’t lie down. He got up and down to limit the damage to bogey, then immediately bounced back with birdie at 15. Another birdie at the last, and that’s a 68. He’ll be extremely pleased with that after a quiet start – nine straight pars going out – and that’s one step towards adding the Open to his US Open title. Should he win this week, he’d join a super-select group of players to have won both championships in the same calendar year, alongside Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods. Now that is a top table.

The Open 2023: first round – as it happened (1)

20 Jul 202309.59EDT

Thanks James … and that’s one hell of a back nine by Tommy Fleetwood. Four birdies to come home in 32. Tell you who will be equally as pleased with their performance along the closing stretch, and that’s Brooks Koepka. He was looking out of sorts after bogeys at 8 and 10, but birdies at 11, 12 and 15 see him sign for an opening round of 70.

20 Jul 202309.53EDT

England's Tommy Fleetwood shoots 66!

Two putts, including a five-footer, see the local favourite home in 32. Six birdies on the card, a solitary blemish at the sixth. He is your joint-leader at -5 alongside amateur Christo Lamprecht. With that, I’ll leave you in Scott’s far more capable hands. Enjoy the rest of the day.

-5: Lamprecht -a- (F), Fleetwood (F)
-3: Cink (F)
-2: Jordan (F), Spieth (F) – ha! – Clark (17), Kim (16), Rozner (12), Langasque (9)

The Open 2023: first round – as it happened (2)

20 Jul 202309.32EDT

On the 18th, Fleetwood again goes left off the tee, finding a spot in the rough. And speaking of the long stuff … Wyndham Clark (-2) may have had to play one of the day’s shortest shots …

Find the wrong spot at @RLGCHoylake and you'll get big trouble.@usopengolf winner Wyndham Clark found that out the hard way.

— The Open (@TheOpen) July 20, 2023

20 Jul 202309.27EDT

Antoine Rozner is the latest to make his way to -3, a birdie three on the 11th. US pair Brooks Koepka and Patrick Cantlay are both -1 through 17, while Bryson DeChambeau is +4, steadying the ship after a sketchy front nine.

20 Jul 202309.21EDT

To the 17th for Tommy Fleetwood and co. We mentioned it a bit earlier and should add that it’s currently playing as the ninth hardest hole on the course, a stroke average of 3.12 for its 126 yards. A reminder too that said number is slightly misleading given the grievous rise from tee to pin. Anyway, Fleetwood isn’t having anything to do with the flag, finding the back left edge and leaving himself a mighty putt. He does well from range, lagging up and gladly knocking in. He remains -5 with one hole to play.

“Silly, stupid question, but how can a golf course have a course record when the pin positions move daily, changing its difficulty?” asks Andy Flintoff (not that one). It’s not really either of those, Andy, but there’s not really a better option out there … I think?

20 Jul 202309.11EDT

Tommy Fleetwood goes to -5, a tie for the lead! He did well to find the green from the left rough on 16, a good 25 feet or so away from the pin with his approach and then made no mistake with the flat stick again, finding the cup for a third birdie on the spin. Meanwhile, up on the 18th, Jordan Spieth finds a fairway bunker off the tee and ends up having to come out sideways. He misses the green long and left, getting flirty with the stands, and is unable to get up and down. A frustrating finishing 6 and he’s back to -2 … three behind our joint-leaders.

The Open 2023: first round – as it happened (3)

20 Jul 202309.03EDT

Another player on the back-to-back birdie trail is Romain Langasque of France, with a two at the sixth taking him to -2.

“I just thought I’d say the course set-up is almost perfect,” emails David Thomson with regards to Hoylake. “A great test with a mix of risk reward with relatively straightforward holes, but then again there’s nothing straightforward about an Open links. Makes a great contrast with the hairy monstrosity that was the US Open set-up last month. The US PGA seems to have this thing about rough and bunkers to the extent that it protected greenside bunkers with a fringe which made the bunkers pointless. It also forgets that the ball is round and it rolls – or should that be releases? – especially when it’s not hit or aimed very well the fringe prevented natural roll-offs as penalties. Crazy.

“I must say though I’ve mixed feelings about the 17th it stands out a wee bit crazy golf in amongst the excellent others. It will be good to see it in a hooly with rain but I think it might have been better placed earlier in the round to test the golfers’ recovery abilities towards the finish. But anyway things look good for the week. Lamprecht played well, hope he can keep it going.”

20 Jul 202308.58EDT

Another birdie for Tommy Fleetwood, then, doing the business on the par-five 15th. He takes second place on his own. Next up is the 466-yard 16th, another brute of a hole. He tugs his tee shot down the left and finds the rough.

20 Jul 202308.55EDT

1.55pm BST leaderboard

-5: Lamprecht -a- (F)
-4 Fleetwood (15)
-3: Cink (F), Spieth (17), Siem (10)
-2: Jordan (F), Scott (15), Clark (13), Rozner (9)

20 Jul 202308.52EDT

Royal Liverpool member Matthew Jordan, who got the ball rolling all the way back at 6.35am, has been talking about his day and an impressive round of 69. Remember, though, he is the course record-holder, having been around in here in just 62 shots. Speaking to PA, Jordan said:

Amazing. I’m kind of running out of words to describe it. It was crazy, mental, loud – everything that I could have wished for. I’m certainly trying to think of a better experience than that, and I don’t think I can.”

20 Jul 202308.44EDT

Michael Butler

The first to fall foul of the 17th was Lucas Herbert, who arrived on the tee box as the early leader at three under but ended the hole at even par after an ugly six. Having missed the green long and left from the tee, he then chipped through the green to the right sand, duffed his first bunker shot into the bank, chipped out to 18ft and two-putted.

“I don’t think I’ll be the only one to run up a big number,” sighed Herbert after signing for even-par 71. “Our group all missed the green. It’s not easy. When there’s no wind, it’s a gap wedge and you can make a two pretty easily, but that wind gets going and you can’t really feel it too much on the enclosed tee. It becomes a really tricky shot.

“I had sort of one foot in the bunker, one foot out,” Herbert continued. “It didn’t come out the way I wanted and it rolled back in. Felt like there was about 5,000 professional golfers sitting around us in the stands watching it.”

The Open 2023: first round – as it happened (4)

20 Jul 202308.42EDT

Tucked up somewhere around the 17th hole today – which Jordan Spieth has just safely negotiated with a par three – is our very own Michael Butler. “Absolutely deadly,” he calls it. And if you need a bit more info about the new hole, here you go.

Hole 17 - Little Eye.

Par 3. 136 yards.


— The Open (@TheOpen) July 17, 2023

20 Jul 202308.38EDT

“Perhaps a little unkind to detail the struggles of those having a bad day,” writes Dean Kinsella. “God knows, we’ve all had ‘em.” Some of us more than others, unfortunately, Dean.

20 Jul 202308.36EDT

Hello there … moving up to -3 and joint-second is Tommy Fleetwood, joining Jordan Spieth after a birdie on the par-four 14th. It’s been playing at 4.31 today so that’s a real bonus for the Englishman, whose approach from the left-side of the fairway ended up around 10ft from the pin and he duly rolled in the putt.

20 Jul 202308.27EDT

Currently bringing up the field is Jazz Janewattananond, who is in with an 81 or +10. He reached the turn in 39 but things went further south, ending with a double on the 18th. That’s three worse than Ryan Fox, while there’s currently a quarter of players stuck on +6, including Rasmus Hojgaard of Denmark, who is just through the 6th. A quadruple-bogey 8 on the 3rd has done most of the damage there.

The Open 2023: first round – as it happened (5)

20 Jul 202308.18EDT

The Open 2023: first round – as it happened (6)

James Dart

Good afternoon, good morning, good evening wherever you are. Thanks to Scott, who will be back later to helm this good ship home.

A brief update on Scottie Scheffler: he’s parred the 13th and remains on level par, five back on our shock early leader, Christo Lamprecht. But you can add another name to the group on -3: Jordan Spieth.

20 Jul 202308.11EDT

Scottie Scheffler yips another short putt. The only surprise being he misses to the right. He walks off the 12th green with the hangdog look of a man who knows this is untenable if he wants to lift the Claret Jug this week. He’s back to level par.

And I’m off to lift a mug of hot tea, so I’ll leave you in the company of James Dart. See you later.

20 Jul 202308.08EDT

Marcel Siem bounces straight back from a bogey on 6 with birdie at 7. He punches the air in delight, along a huge swinging arc, the sort of celebration you normally see on the back nine on Sunday, not on the front nine on Thursday. Don’t be using all of that energy up too soon, Marcel. But he’s -3, so you can understand the sentiment. Meanwhile back-to-back birdies for the US Open champ (and real deal) Wyndham Clark at 10 and 11, and suddenly he’s in the mix at -2. He’s alongside Tommy Fleetwood, who having turned in 34 has since birdied 11, and Jordan Spieth, who follows birdie at 11 with another at 15. That’s a fine response by the 2017 winner to that double at 8, his tee shot on that hole being the only serious mistake he’s made all day. And birdie for 2012’s nearly man Adam Scott at 12. This is some leaderboard already!

-5: Lamprecht -a- (F)
-3: Cink (F), Siem (7)
-2: Jordan (F), Spieth (15), Fleetwood (12), Scott (12), Clark (11), Kim (10), Rozner (7)

20 Jul 202307.56EDT

The Cameron Smith Entertainment Rollercoaster continues to whistle around Hoylake at breakneck speed. Having hit the turn in 34, after those back-to-back bogeys and that outrageous scramble on 9, he’s bogeyed 10 and now flayed his drive into deep oomska to the left of 11. He thrashes a 9-iron through the waist-high grass and sends his ball into another swale. Time for some more wedge-based escapology, perhaps? He’s currently level par and who knows which direction he’ll be heading in next. Meanwhile it’s a par on 18 for the 2009 champion Stewart Cink, and an excellent blemish-free round of 68.

20 Jul 202307.48EDT

The amateur Christo Lamprecht shoots 66!

Two no-nonsense putts for the 6ft 8in South African amateur Christo Lamprecht on 18. That’s his seventh birdie of the day, and he’s signing for a sensational five-under opening round of 66. That’s the second-lowest first round by an amateur in Open history, behind Tom Lewis’s 65 at Sandwich in 2011 and ahead of Jordan Niebrugge’s 67 at St Andrews in 2015. It ties for the second-lowest amateur total in any round, matching the 66s of Frank Stranahan (Troon 1950), Tiger Woods (Lytham 1996), Justin Rose (Birkdale 1998) and Paul Dunne (St Andrews 2015).

And there’s more! Lamprecht, who plays college golf in the US, is here because he won the Amateur Championship last month, becoming only the third player out of Georgia Tech to do so. One of the other two? The legendary Bobby Jones, who won his Amateur Championship in 1930 as part of his famous Grand Slam season … that also included winning the Open at Hoylake. No further comment, other than to remind you all that dreaming is free.

-5: Lamprecht -a- (F)
-3: Cink (17)
-2: Jordan (F), Kim (8), Hojgaard(7), Siem (8), Rozner (5)

20 Jul 202307.36EDT

The veteran Marcel Siem is enjoying a late career renaissance. The 43-year-old German’s triumph at this year’s Indian Open was his first on the DP World Tour since 2014, and he’s since finished tied for second at the European Open and tied for 10th at the Made in Himmerland. He finished 15th at last year’s Open, too, and is out of the blocks quickly today. Birdies at 1, 4 and 5 – the latter so nearly an eagle – and he joins Stewart Cink in second spot at -3.

20 Jul 202307.31EDT

Cameron Smith is also fearless. The reigning champion pulls his tee shot at the par-three 9th down a swale to the left of the green, and he’s left with a tricky chip. But he clips it crisply from 65 feet to 18 inches, and in goes the par saver. He’s an absolute magician. Meanwhile up on 18, Christo Lamprecht lashes his second over the flag to 47 feet. The new Amateur Champion will have a long look at eagle for an opening round of 65. On Sky Sports, the former PGA champ Rich Beem says he’ll be surprised if Lamprecht doesn’t turn professional very soon, and parlay his talent into spending money.

20 Jul 202307.25EDT

Christo Lamprecht is fearless. He smashes his tee shot at 18 down the right-hand side of the fairway, worried not a jot about the out-of-bounds line mere yards away. Ah the certainties of youth. He’s now got the ideal line into the green. Birdie here for 66 wouldn’t match the lowest first round by an amateur in the Open – that’s 65 by Tom Lewis at Sandwich in 2011 – but it would beat the second-lowest on record, a 67 shot by Jordan Niebrugge at St Andrews in 2015.

20 Jul 202307.17EDT

Patrick Reed, having dropped a stroke at 17, pars the last and signs for an opening round of 70. He walks off in a slightly disappointed fashion, his last putt having stopped half-a-dimple short of dropping. Cameron Smith meanwhile backs up his birdie at 7 with another at 8, the reward for knocking his approach pin high to six feet. The defending champion moves back into red figures.

The Open 2023: first round – as it happened (2024)
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