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Troy Merritt was locked in during round one of the Barbasol Championship, bombarding Keene Trace Golf Club with a bogey-free, 10-under-par 30-32=62 to give himself a three-shot lead with play winding down for the day.

Merritt striped 11 (of 14) fairways and landed 16 greens in regulation. His ball-striking was the main conduit to scoring but he also holed out from 34'3" for eagle at the par-5 sixth hole and splashed home four putts from outside nine feet. This was a very balanced attack as he walked off the course gained at least one stroke in all four sub-categories of strokes gained. Playing the first round at this week's venue, Merritt will now hold the course record here. This will be his second career first-round lead/co-lead, with his previous co-lead coming at the 2010 Sony Open (finished T20). This will also go in the books as his third-lowest round on TOUR (61, R2/2015 Heritage; 61, R3/2015 Quicken Loans National).
Jul 19 - 6:44 PM

Justin Thomas soared out of the starting gate before cooling his pace and closing with a 2-under-par 33-36=69 during round one of the Open Championship, good for a share of eighth place.

JT entered with a T53 and a missed cut in two starts at The Open but he's hoping that doesn't become a trend. That record may not be indicative of how he feels about links golf, in fact he would add the following after R1, "I've always loved links golf. It's very, very intelligent." Hitting "six or seven" drivers today, Thomas attacked at times but he also laid back when needed. It seems that Thomas played smart today and found 14 greens in regulation as a result. Despite his poor record at this event, he has now been inside the top 10 after R1 in all three of his Open Championship appearances. His last two second rounds at The Open have been 10-over 80 and 6-over 77 so he will try to avoid that same fate tomorrow.
Jul 19 - 4:54 PM

Nicholas Lindheim coasted to a 5-under-par 33-34=67 during round one of the Barbasol Championship, grabbing a seat just two off the early lead.

Lindheim came out firing with birdies at 2,3, and 4. At the second, he stuffed his 171-yard approach to 16 inches and at the third hole he stiffed his 156-yard approach to 10 inches. He would give some of those approach shots back when he found water at the ninth. That was right after he drained a 22'3" birdie at the eighth. Lindheim split just six (of 14) fairways today but landed 14 greens. This is just the second time in his career that he's positioned himself inside the top 10 after R1 (2016-17 OHL Classic). He missed the cut in that event after a 5-over 76 in R2.
Jul 19 - 4:41 PM

Henrik Stenson had injury concerns (elbow) ahead of The 147th Open but started strong with a 1-under-par 36-34=70 to find himself inside the top 20 at day's end.

The Swede striped 10 (of 15) fairways and landed 13 greens in regulation. He traded three birdies with a pair of bogeys throughout his round, taking 31 putts along the way. This was really a ho-hum round but it's important because we weren't sure if his elbow injury would even allow him to peg it this week. After the round, he added "Elbow is okay. It's not 100 percent, but it's good enough to play, obviously. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here this week."
Jul 19 - 4:26 PM

Rory McIlroy opened the 147th Open at Carnoustie in Angus with a hard fought 2-under-par 36-33=69, good for T8 and three swings back of the leader Kevin Kisner.

The Northern Irishman admitted afterwards that he was rarely in complete control of his driving, but he was happy that his plotting round the course was competent. He may not have hit the exact locations he was aiming at, but he was hitting the correct side of the hole and making his approach shots easier. He ticked the third, but gave the shot back on the fifth. On the back nine he made birdies at the 12th and 14th holes. He found only 27% of the fairways, but 78% of the greens in regulation however he needed 31 putts.
Jul 19 - 4:20 PM

Defending champion Jordan Spieth opened the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie in Angus with a 1-over-par lap of 34-38=72, good for T50.

Spieth landed only 47% of the fairways and 56% of the greens in regulation as he struggled to make headway on a mostly calm day in Scotland. True, he encountered some of the heavier breezes, but there was nothing too demanding and for a long while he seemed in control, ticking the second and fourth on the front nine, then the 11th on the back nine to make his way into the teeth of the course unharmed. Alas it all went wrong. He found the rough (twice) and sand on his way to a double bogey-6 at the 15th, slumped to bogey at 16 and added another at the final hole.
Jul 19 - 4:07 PM

Tiger Woods managed his way around Carnoustie Golf Links en route to an even-par 34-37=71 during round one of The 147th Open, placing him at T32 on the live leaderboard with play nearly done for the day.

Going off in Group No. 47 (of 52), Woods took a conservative approach today with nearly all irons and woods off the tee. That helped him reach 2-under thru 4 but the conditions got tougher as the day progressed. His lone driver hit came at the par-5 sixth hole and he piped a slight baby fade right down the middle of the fairway. With gusts starting to hit 15-to-20 MPH on his back nine, the task got a bit tougher, as if it weren't tough enough to begin with at Carnoustie. On top of that, Woods struggled with his putting speed on his way into the clubhouse, trading three bogeys with one birdie on the homeward nine. Woods was seen with kinesiology tape on his neck today but he brushed it off as a non-factor saying that he often plays all taped up it just happened that we could see it today. Woods will play in Group 21 tomorrow which means he may have to deal with a bit of rain during his round.
Jul 19 - 3:56 PM

Sebastian Munoz twirled a 5-under-par 33-34=67 during round one of the Barbasol Championship. He'll return 80 minutes earlier than expected tomorrow as tee times have been pushed up in anticipation of inclement weather. Friday morning tee times will begin at 7:00 a.m. local time while the afternoon will kick off at noon, barring any setbacks with weather.

Munoz started his round on the 10th tee and scraped together a bogey-free 34 on his outward nine. He had only three scoring chances from inside 30 feet on that nine holes, so it was impressive scrambling that worked for him. The Colombian picked up the iron play on his way into the clubhouse, setting up four birdies (2,3, 6, and 7) with all four coming from inside nine feet. This will be the third time Munoz has posted inside the top 10 after R1 of a PGA TOUR event. Both of his previous fast starts were first-round leads/co-leads (2017 St. Jude Classic and 2017 Greenbrier Classic). Playing on the Web.com Tour this year, Munoz is 14-for-17 to sit in 5th place on the WCT money list, posting three podium finishes along the way. With his 2018-19 PGA TOUR card locked up through the Web Tour, Munoz is playing stress-free golf right now.
Jul 19 - 3:08 PM

Cameron Percy popped up the leaderboard in round one of the Barbasol Championship, firing a 5-under-par 35-32=67 to sit just two off the early pacesetter Andres Romero.

Percy entered the week with an 8-for-12 record on the season, playing on conditional status. Starting on the 10th tee, the Aussie picked off birdies at 10, 12, and 13 to get his morning started. He rinsed his approach shot at the 14th to drop a shot. He would rebound with circles at 16 and 17 before making the turn. Percy cruised home from there with two birdies and one bogey on his homeward nine. This will be the ninth time in his career that he's positioned himself inside the top 10 after R1. He's converted just two of those fast starts into top 10s by week's end. With the field averaging 70.595 strokes, he'll need to keep his foot on the gas for three more rounds.
Jul 19 - 2:39 PM

Californian Brendan Steele enjoyed the unusually sunny conditions in round one of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, authoring a 3-under-par 35-33=68 to settle just two shots behind leader Kevin Kisner.

With the later groups on the back nine, Steele is in a tie for fifth with two others. It's a surprise first-day leaderboard and the 35-year can also be classed as one of the unlikely names given that he's 0-for-3 in The Open and hasn't managed a top ten in 15 starts in the majors. A kinder view is that he's had four top 20s. Steele fell over par for the day with bogey at 5 but a square at 12 was his only other blemish of the day. He outpaced them with birdies at 6, 9, 11, 14 and 17. He needed 31 putts after piping 11 (of 15) fairways and hitting 14 greens in regulation.
Jul 19 - 2:19 PM

Andres Romero fired out of the gate en route to a 7-under-par 31-34=65 during round one of the Barbasol Championship, good for the early clubhouse lead as the afternoon wave gets started.

The Argentine had a close call at the 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie (solo third). This week, he doesn't get a second crack at Carnoustie but instead he's back in the States playing in Kentucky. Opening his round with an 18-footer for birdie, he would add four more circles over the next five holes. His putter stalled during the middle of the round (misses from 11'11" 11'10", and 3'0"). Romero got back on track with three birds in his final three holes. Romero walked off the course gaining 1.734 strokes off-the-tee and another 3.441 strokes approaching-the-green. The 37-year-old got off to a fast start last week as well (T3 after R1 of the John Deere, finished T7). If this lead holds then it'd be his third career first-round lead or co-lead on the PGA TOUR (2013 Puerto Rico Open, finished T6; 2012 Reno-Tahoe Open, solo third).
Jul 19 - 1:45 PM

Ryan Moore didn't break par in any of his four rounds when Carnoustie last played host in 2007 but he found the recipe for success on his return after starting his bid at the 147th Open Championship with a 3-under-par 33-35=68.

That sees him in a tie for fifth on the live leaderboard, just two back from fellow American Kevin Kisner. Moore finished T42 at Carnoustie 11 years ago and is 5-for-8 overall in the season's oldest major, posting T12 at Hoylake in 2014. He shot 68s in rounds two and four at the Liverpool venue and matched that score today after trading six birdies with three bogeys. He threatened a really low one after ticking 2, 4, 5 and 6 but another birdie at 8 was sandwiched between bogeys at 7 and 9. Moore let another shot go at 12 but hit back with birdie-2 at 16. The five-time PGA Tour winner found 8 (of 15) fairways and 12 greens in regulation.
Jul 19 - 12:42 PM

World No. 444 Zander Lombard flickered back to life with T6 in the Irish Open at Ballyliffin two weeks ago and he showed off more of those links skills with a first-round 4-under-par 32-35=67 at the 147th Open Championship today.

Lombard is one of three South Africans in the top five on the leaderboard right now. He shares second spot with compatriot Erik Van Rooyen and American Tony Finau, the trio a single shot behind leader Kevin Kisner. Lombard, who had missed 10 of 11 cuts before his top six in Ireland, raced to the turn in 4-under after red circles at 2, 5, 6 and 8. He gave one back at the 10th but kept it steady from that point and added another red number at the par-5 14th to slot in at T2 (13 greens, 28 putts). This is just his second major. His first was the 2016 Open when he opened with a 69 before finishing T66.
Jul 19 - 11:19 AM

Tony Finau has finished tied 10th and 5th in the first two majors of 2018 and he's on course for another big week after starting the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie with a 4-under-par 34-33=67, a closing 25-footer for birdie hoisting him to T2 and just one behind leader Kevin Kisner.

Finau went hunting for red numbers today and came up with eight of them. His set included four on the front nine (1, 2, 6 and 9) against dropped shots at 3 and 7. And coming home he outpaced bogeys at 12 and 16 with circles at 13, 14, 15 and 18. The big-hitting American, who practised with some of his potential Ryder Cup colleagues at Le Golf National last week, hit 10 of the 15 fairways and found 14 greens. He took 29 putts. Finau also shot a first-round 67 on his Open debut at Troon in 2016 when finishing T18 while he was T27 at Royal Birkdale last year so he's made a bright start to his Open career.
Jul 19 - 10:39 AM

Danny Willett hadn't posted a sub-70 round in the majors since the closing 67 which won him the 2016 Masters but he changed that stat today thanks to a 2-under-par 34-35=69 in round one of the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie.

That's currently three behind clubhouse leader Kevin Kisner and puts him T9 on the live board. Willett swallowed an opening bogey but hit back with a trio of birdies at 4, 5 and 6. Further gains at 10 and 13 took him into a tie for the lead but he got caught out by the tough closing holes and dropped shots at 17 and 18. The Englishman found 15 greens in regulation after hitting seven (of 15) fairways but needed 33 swishes with the flatstick. "That was good. A lot of 12, 15 footers as well that just slid by. Could have been a really, really nice knock," he said.
Jul 19 - 10:24 AM



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