British Open: Lingmerth makes striking start

David Lingmerth makes striking start at British Open with four birdies during early stage of tournament

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

David Lingmerth made an astounding start to the British Open at St Andrews on Thursday by birdieing the first four holes and then reaching the turn in a seven under 29.

It was clear early on that the conditions were perfect for low-scoring out on the Old Course and the 27-year-old Flordia-based Swede, who won The Memorial this year, shot out of the blocks playing in the fourth group of the day.

He birdied 1 through 4 and then 6, 7 and 9 with pars at 5 and 8 to power three shots clear off the field in the lead and possibly heading towards the first 62 in major golf history.

There were birdies too for Dane Thomas Bjorn, who hit the tournament's opening shot. He parred the first three holes before bagging birdies at 4, 5 and 6, but was pegged back by bogeys at 10 and 11.

Irish amateur Paul Dunne joined in the birdie blast, also getting to three under after five holes.

The low scoring early on was good news for the likes of world number two Jordan Spieth and former number one Tiger Woods, both of whom had mid-morning tee-times.

The 21-year-old Spieth is seeking a third straight major win after taking the Masters and US Open in the space of two months.

The 39-year-old Woods is simply seeking a way back.

Spieth, who would be just the second man, after Ben Hogan in 1953, to win the Open Championship in the same year as the Masters and US Open, is brimming with confidence after taking his fourth title of the year in Illinois on Sunday.

He says he is fully aware of the historical implications of winning this week, and says it can be done even though he has not played a competitive round at the Old Course.

Success breeds success he believes, although he has yet to experience the full blast of a North Sea squall, a force of nature that 13 years ago flattened Woods at Muirfield, the last time a player had the chance to win three majors in a row.

With rain and gusting winds forecast to sweep in from the North Sea from late Thursday through Friday and much of Saturday, getting a good, low score in on Thursday morning could be a vital stepping stone towards glory on Sunday evening.

Playing in his last Open at the age of 65, five-time former winner Tom Watson stuttered at the start with an opening bogey followed by two pars.

The top groupings in the afternoon, when conditions were forcast to worsen, see 2013 champion Phil Mickelson go out at 2:34 p.m. with top European Henrik Stenson of Sweden and fellow American Matt Kuchar.

Shortly after that, three-time winner Nick Faldo at 58 will tee it up one last time with top British hope Justinn Rose and last week's Scottish Open champion Rickie Fowler.