Johnson Leads Open as McIlroy Ends Eight Over

19 Jul 2013

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Tiger Wooods


American Zach Johnson took a one-shot lead after a difficult opening day that saw some of the world's best struggle in the 142nd Open Championship.

Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, shot a five-under 66 on a firm and fiery Muirfield course to head Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello and 56-year-old Mark O'Meara, the 1998 Open champion, reports the BBC.

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez, India's Shiv Kapur and Americans Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and 1996 champion Tom Lehman ended another stroke adrift on three under.

Tiger Woods recovered from a penalty drop following a poor drive at the first to shoot a two-under 69 in conditions he described as "progressively more difficult" as the course dried out.

The world number one, chasing a first major title since 2008, ended alongside Phil Mickelson, last week's Scottish Open winner, 2004 champion Todd Hamilton, Argentina's two-time major winner Angel Cabrera, Italy's Francesco Molinari and 19-year-old US Tour rookie Jordan Spieth.

But on a stunning day for spectating, if not low scoring, the bouncy, fast-running Scottish links claimed a number of notable scalps.

Rory McIlroy's woes continued with an eight-over 79, which he blamed on a series of mental errors rather than technique.

"Sometimes I feel like I'm walking around out there a bit unconscious," said the world number two, who has struggled all season.

England's Luke Donald, the man McIlroy duelled with for the number one spot for much of last season, ended on 80.

Of the field of 156, only 26 ended at level par or better.

Ian Poulter, who finished one over, and Mickelson branded the bone-dry greens and some of the pin positions a "joke" and "unplayable". The R&A defended the set-up, but admitted it would review its course policies ahead of Friday's second round, while O'Meara said in more than 25 Open Championships he had seen conditions far worse.

Woods sympathised to some extent with the complaints and said: "I'm very pleased to shoot anything even par or better."

Tags: Sports, World, McIlroy

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