The Open: steady start for Aussies

Cameron Davis
Cameron Davis from Sydney began his Open career with a 71. Image: Getty

 

The Australians made a steady but unspectacular start at a benign Carnoustie today in the Open Championship, with American Kevin Kisner setting the pace.

Three Aussies – Adam Scott, Jason Day and Cameron Davis – finished at even-par 71 through the first round, five shots from the lead held by Kisner.

Marc Leishman and Matt Jones both carded 72 to be one-over and in a decent position.

But Lucas Herbert, Cameron Smith and Brett Rumford (all 73s) have work to do tomorrow to get back into the tournament.

Kisner made a bomb for eagle at the sixth hole today and made incredible par-saves on the last three holes, running hot with his putter. He had just 22 strokes with the short stick during his 66 that set the benchmark early in the day.

“Holed a long putt on six for eagle and that was kind of the theme of the day,” said Kisner. “I putted so badly at Greenbrier, so I’ve been working really hard on it since I got here. The ball started coming off on line and when that happens, I think I can hole every putt.”

He is a shot ahead of two South Africans – Erik Van Rooyen and Zander Lombard – as well as American Tony Finau, who had 67s.

Among the big ticket players who started strongly are Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm (69s) on a day when 31 players broke par in mostly windless conditions.

Former world No. 1 Tiger Woods began with an even-par 71. World No. 1 Dustin Johnson took a triple bogey seven at the final hole for a 76 after his second shot bounded hard just left of the green and kicked through the out-of-bounds fence.

Davis, the 23-year-old from Sydney, made five birdies in an impressive Open Championship debut, having secured his spot in the field by winning the Emirates Australian Open last year. But his round was spoiled by two double-bogeys at the fifth and 11th holes. "It was an awesome experience," Davis told AAP afterward.

"I'm very happy to be at level par. Hopefully coming down the stretch on Sunday in some sort of contention would be the most ideal situation."

Several of the Australians struggled on the back nine, notably Marc Leishman who was four-under through eight holes and near the top of the leaderboard before he limped home with three bogeys coming back. Cameron Smith also made a run before making consecutive bogeys from the 15th to the 17th.

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