|Leading names misfire at British Open
World No 1 Luke Donald and World No 3 Lee Westwood struggled across the bunker-strewn Royal Lytham links yesterday, dimming their hopes of a breakthrough first major title. A closing bogey left Donald on par-70, six strokes off the pace set by Australian Adam Scott after the first round, while out-of-control Westwood soared to a 73 that featured five bogeys and a double bogey in mild conditions, AFP reports.
“I was struggling in this thing a little bit at the moment,'' Westwood said. “And you get found out pretty quickly around an Open championship golf course, no matter what the conditions are like.'' Westwood and Donald have combined to go winless in 93 major events, 57 for Westwood and 36 for Donald.
Even so, Donald and Westwood were considered the best hopes to become the first Englishman to win the British Open on home soil since Tony Jacklin did so at Lytham and St Annes 43 years ago. Instead, the scoreboard showed unfancied James Morrison, playing in his first Open, leading the home-nation charge on 68 with Open debutante Matthew Baldwin and second-timer Lee Slattery, hardly household names, on 69. “If you drove it straight, you could really attack the golf course,'' said Morrison.
Those who misfired as Westwood did walked off wondering about themselves and the state of their game.
“I have been working on it a few weeks and it has not clicked,'' Westwood said. ``I need to play better than I played today. I'm not going to make up any shots playing like that.'' Westwood opened with back-to-back birdies, gave back the strokes with a double bogey at the third, then answered a bogey at the sixth with birdies at the par-5 seventh and par-3 ninth.
But a back-nine collapse saw him bogey four of five holes starting at the 13th, a kick in the gut after such a hopeful start. “The start sort of was a bit of a lie, really,'' Westwood said. “It was nice to birdie the first two holes, but I don't feel in control of the ball at the moment. Just one of those things. You can't have great form all the time. I am at a point now where it goes left or right. I'm not often straight.''
Donald birdied the third hole, then nursed his way around with 14 pars in a row until taking a bogey at 18 to settle for a level-par start.