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  • Following Tiger Woods and the rest of the action from the first round of the British Open at Carnoustie.
By Daniel Rapaport
July 18, 2018

The 147th Open Championship got underway Thursday at historic Carnoustie Golf Club on the eastern coast of Scotland.

All of golf's biggest names are competing in the third major of the year, including Tiger Woods, who is making his first start in the British Open since 2015. Jordan Spieth is the defending champion this week, as he became last year's Champion Golfer of the Year with a comeback win at Royal Birkdale. 

Woods shot an even-par 71 for his opening round. He shot two-under 34 on the front nine but made three bogeys and just one birdie on the back as conditions worsened. He was in a tie for 33rd when he finished his round. 

Below is a full recap of Tiger's round, as well as live updates of the day as it unfolded. 

For those of you who value brevity and prefer the bare bones, you can follow along with our live leaderboard


3:19 p.m. - Two finishing pars for even-par 71

Tiger found the fairway with his tee shot on 17 then played a solid iron dead into the wind to about 40 feet right in the middle of the green. He hit a decent lag but left himself five feet for par—he's had so many of those on the back nine—but poured it in. 

On 18, he didn't like his tee shot (an iron again) but it missed the bunkers and burn and finished in the middle of the fairway. That left a straight-downwind wedge, which he played well right of the pin. Two putts from there and it's an even-par 71. 

It looked like Tiger might shoot a few under today, particularly after he was two-under through four holes. But conditions worsened throughout the afternoon—there were very few rounds at or better than par in the afternoon wave—as did Tiger's ball striking. He had to grind hard on the back nine, holing many par putts from that knee-knocking range, and he'll feel good about getting in at 71. 

The bad news for Tiger is that rain is expected tomorrow morning, when Tiger will tee off in his second round. It would appear that he has received the short end of the draw, starting time-wise. Still, he'll want to post something in the red tomorrow to set him up for the weekend. 

2:51 p.m. - Big par save, E through 16

Tiger's now on the extremely difficult closing three-hole stretch at Carnoustie, the same stretch that ate the lunch of Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson. Tiger's tee shot on the par-3 16th found the right rough, and he played a nice bump-and-run to five feet. The par effort was pure and that's a big-time par. Would be huge for Tiger to get this in at even par. 

2:34 p.m. - Another bogey, back to even par through 15

The wheels haven't fallen off. But they're not tightly secured, either. 

Tiger tried to lay well back on 15 with what looked like a 6-iron or so, but his drive rolled out 47 yards and found another one of those pot bunkers. From there, you can't do anything. He was forced to hit a greenside-bunker-style shot and only advanced it roughly 20 yards. After a third shot to about 50 feet, he two-putted for a second bogey in three holes. Back to even par for the tournament. 

2:17 p.m. - Tiger saves par on par 5, stays -1 through 14

Sometimes par putts are the most important ones. This was one of those instances. 

After making a three-putt bogey on 13, Tiger went with an iron off the par-5 14th tee, splitting the fairway. His approach was too agrressive and and plugged in a bunker right in front of the flag. From there, he had no chance to put it close and blasted over the green. He putted to about five feet short for par, leaving an important par effort for momentum. You never want to make back-to-back bogeys, but especially so when the second hold is a par 5 that you had an iron into. 

Well, crisis averted. The par effort was dead center. 

1:54 p.m. - Tiger makes three-putt bogey to drop to -1

Just when you thought the putting struggles were a thing of the past...

On the par-3 13th, Tiger hit a nice iron that was right at the flag but about 40 feet short. His uphill birdie putt was his worst lag of the day, finishing about three to four feet short of the hole. But that still left a straightforward, uphill par putt, but it leaked right and horseshoed out of the hole. His first three-putt of the day drops him to -1 and saps a bit of momentum before the par-5 14th.  

1:40 p.m. - Up-and-in for Tiger (-2 through 12)

Tiger continues to lay back with irons off tees and leave himself 200+ yards into greens, but the strategy has worked pretty well thus far. He found the fairway with another stinger then hit a high, long-iron approach that landed pin high but bounded through the green. He played a nifty pitch to less than a foot and tapped in for par. Onward. 

1:19 p.m. - Tiger drops a bomb for bounce-back birdie

That's how you bounce back! After sticking with his conservative strategy and hitting an iron onto 11—Rory McIlroy, who was being interviewed while Tiger played the hole, said a lot of guys will hit driver on the hole—Tiger hit a safe punch approach to 35 feet left of the flag. His lag putting has been terrific all day, and he finally got one to fall. It was a 35-footer that broke a couple feet left-to-right and it rolled in right in the heart. 

1:08 p.m. - First bogey of the day for Tiger (-1 through 10), DJ struggles big time

The main thing you can't do this week is hit the ball into fairway bunkers. They're so small and steep that more often than not, you're going to have to just pitch out sideways if you find one of them. That's exactly what Tiger had to do after fanning a three wood into a bunker down the right side of 10. His third shot finished about 20 feet from the pin and his par putt was good for speed but low left the whole way. First bogey of the day. 

In example 3430982 of Golf is So Hard, consider Dustin Johnson's round today. The world's top-ranked player and a guy who hasn't finished outside the top 20 in a stroke play event since last September made a triple-bogey 7 to shoot a five-over 76 in his opening round. If you're not controlling your golf ball at a course like Carnoustie, you are going to struggle. No matter who you are. 

12:51 p.m. - Big par save for Tiger (-2 through 9), Rory posts 69

Tiger spoke about having a conservative game plan this week. Even if hitting iron would leave him long approaches, he said he was committed to putting himself in play and minimizing mistakes. Example 1A of that strategy was the way he played 9. He fanned an iron a bit off the tee leaving himsef 244 yards into the par 4. His approach then found a bunker and he splashed out to about seven feet. His par putt was dead-center, and Tiger even added a little fist pump after the momentum-saving par. That's a two-under 34 on the outward nine. 

Rory McIlroy played his back nine in two under to shoot 69. It could have been better, as he narrowly missed a birdie putt on 18. Very solid start for the 2014 Open champion. 

And here's a video of Sergio Garcia playing a ball out of the water after his tee shot found the burn on 10 (his tee shot traveled over 400 yards to find the hazard). 

12:34 p.m. - Tiger -2 through 8

After that missed opportunity on 6, Tiger made two more routine pars on 7 and 8 and heads to the par-4 9th needing a par to turn in 36. He has hit his patented stinger well all day, putting himself in position to find greens in bunches. He has not had a par putt of more than three feet yet. All things considered, a very stress-free opening nine thus far. 

The bunkers this week are just brutal, with their steep pancake-style lips and small size. If you're close to one of the edges, you may be forced to take a wild stance like this one Brooks Koepka just went with. Just brutal. 

12:03 p.m. - Missed opportunity for Tiger, Molinari continues the good play

First negative for Tiger on the par-5 6th, and it came after he smashed a driver more than 350 yards in the middle of the fairway. That left a mid-iron into the green, but he tugged it into a devilish pot bunker short and left of the green. He hit a nice bunker shot to about four feet but missed his putt left of the hole. He looked visibly annoyed not to have picked up another shot there. 

Francesco Molinari, who is arguably the hottest player on the planet with four top-two finishes in his last five starts, has moved to two-under, as has Rory McIlroy. No one has reached the five-under total that Kevin Kisner posted since he finished his round hours ago. 

11:41 a.m. - Almost another birdie for Tiger (-2 through 5), JT to -4

Tiger missed his first green of the day on 5, as he blocked a 6-iron from 191 yards into a sunken collection area right of the green. He went with the putter from there and his effort was just one roll short of falling right in the middle. He certainly seems to have a feel for the speed of these greens early. He now heads to the par-5 sixth with an opportunity for another birdie. Or, dare I say, maybe better. 

Justin Thomas is cruising along as comfortable as can be. The 2017 PGA champion and last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year curled in another birdie at 11 to reach four-under, and he's now just one back of Kevin Kisner's lead. 

11:24 a.m. - Tiger to -2, McIlroy into red numbers

You couldn't have drawn it up better—Tiger is two-under through his first four holes. This one was a bit fortunate, as he tugged his tee shot and the ball looked headed for a water hazard down the left before taking a right turn and finishing in the left part of the fairway. He immediately asked for his approach to sit, and apprently it listened, as it settled about four feet from the cup. The putt was true, and Woods has a pep in his step. 

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy is into red numbers after making a 30-ish footer for birdie on 12. Dustin Johnson is struggling a bit at one-over through 11, as he's yet to record a birdie. 

11:10 a.m. - Another easy par for Tiger, -1 through 3 holes

A really comfortable start for the three-time Open champion, as he found yet another fairway on 3 then hit a solid wedge past a tucked pin. His lag effort was perfect on speed and missed just left of the hole, leading to another tap-in par. It's a very solid start for Woods, who looks to be feeling just fine after that neck-tape scare. 

10:52 a.m. - Ho-hum par on 2 for Tiger, JT to -3

Woods consolidates the solid start with a ho-hum par on the par-4 2nd. His 3-wood split the fairway, then he played a safe approach to about 30 feet right of the pin. After getting a nice look on the line from Russell Knox, his birdie effort slid barely by on the high side. A tap-in 4. 

Elsewhere, Justin Thomas is off to a nice start, as he rolled in a lengthy birdie effort to turn in three-under 33. This is just Thomas' third start in an Open Championship—he missed the cut last year and and finished T53 in 2016. His high ball flight wouldn't seem to be a good fit on paper, but the lack of wind today means any flight will work. 

10:35 a.m. - Tiger birdies 1

At the U.S. Open, Tiger started his first round with a triple-bogey 7. In his last six starts, he hasn't managed to finish better than 25th after Thursday. All that goes to say: he hasn't been starting well. 

Maybe that changes this week. Woods found the middle of the fairway with an iron then hit a nifty approach shot that kicked off a ridge and finished 10 feet below the hole. With his Taylormade mallet putter in hand, Woods poured the birdie right in the center. Great start. 

10:20 a.m. - Tiger tees off, Finau posts 67

From here on out, we'll provide hole-by-hole updates on Tiger Woods as well as providing periodic updates about the rest of the action. 

Woods teed off in the British Open for the first time since 2015. He's wearing some KT tape on his neck, which certainly was concerning considering his recent injury history. But apprently he just woke up with a tight neck after sleeping with a bad pillow—why he doesn't travel with his own pillow is anyone's guess—and made a good swing on one with an iron. Fairway found. 

Meanwhile, Marc Leishman, who has finished in the top 6 in the last three British Opens, is four-under through 8. And Tony Finau, who has finished in the top 10 in both of the majors this year, made a fantastic birdie from the fairway bunker on the difficult 18th to post four-under 67. 

9:49 a.m. - Spieth stumbles on back nine, DJ with an unconventional 5

When defending champion Jordan Spieth walked off the 14th hole, he was three-under par and just two back of Kevin Kisner's lead. Then he doubled the 15th to drop to one-under and followed that up with another bogey on the 252-yard par-3 16th (hard to blame him for making 4 there). After a steadying par on 17, he found the burn with his drive on 18 and finished with yet another bogey to finish at one-over 72. The closing stretch at Carnoustie is no joke, so take any score through 15 with a grain of salt, knowing the difficult stretch ahead. 

Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson's tee shot on the par-5 6th went out of bounds. His next one traveled 412 yards, leaving him just a flip wedge into the green, which he hit to about 20 feet. DJ then made that putt for one of the more unconventional pars you'll ever see—OB, then an eagle on the second ball. That will feel like a birdie, if not better.

9:10 a.m. - Tiger arrives...wearing KT tape

Tiger Woods has arrived at Carnoustie ahead of his 10:20 a.m. EST tee time, and he's wearing some black tape on his neck, ostensibly in an attempt to loosen up his neck/upper back area. Woods, of course, missed a full year after having spinal fusion surgery last April and has struggled with back issues in recent years. 

The tape does not necessarily mean Woods is hurting, but it's certainly something to keep an eye on, given that this is the first time I can remember seeing him wear it on his neck at the golf course. 

On a separate note, have a peak at this bounce Brandon Stone got off the grandstand at 18. Stone, who won the Scottish Open last week on the strength of a final-round 60, would go on to make par.

8:38 a.m. - Something about Jordan Spieth and the majors

Jordan Spieth came into this event with little momentum, with no top-20 finishes in six starts since his solo third at Augusta. But Spieth took about a month off after the Travelers to rest, reboot and work on his game. He told reporters that he thought he found something swing-wise during that break, and it appears that whatever he found has made its way with him to Scotland. The 24-year-old American is three-under through 14 and looks to have that confident swagger back in his step. 

We knew the defnding Open champion wasn't going to give his title of Champion Golfer of the Year up without a fight. If he can play the last few holes around even par, he'll be in great position heading into Friday. 

7:47 a.m. - Mickelson opens with two-over 73

Phil Mickelson made a double-bogey 5 on the par-3 16th and finished with two pars to open with a two-over 73. Mickelson missed the cut at last year's British Open after finishing second in that epic duel with Henrik Stenson at Muirfield in 2016, and Lefty has never broken par in his career at Carnoustie. The average score thus far is a little over 72, and the wind is expected to pick up as the afternoon wears on, so Mickelson is likely to be right in the middle of the pack by day's end. Not a great start to this championship, but not a disastrous one, either. 

Also—check out this gutsy putt from Jordan Spieth, who is three-under through 11. This thing wasn't more than a foot from rolling into that pot bunker and bringing a big number into play. Gotta risk it for the biscuit, I suppose

7:06 a.m. - A reminder of how difficult it is to predict anything in this game

Kevin Kisner's last six starts before coming to the Open: 55th, MC, T74, T52, MC, MC. Kevin Kisner's best finish in three Open Championship starts: T54. Kevin Kisner through 17 holes at Carnoustie: five-under. Countless articles were written forecasting contenders and sleepers for this major championship, and few if any mentioned Kisner. Rightfully so; he' isn't playing well and hasn't fared positively in this championship. But he's played terrific golf today, managing four birdies and an eagle against just one bogey.

We're a loooong way from the finish line, and there's a chance Kisner fades as early as the front nine tomorrow (disaster lurks with every ridge and every damned bunker at Carnoustie), but his play this morning is a reminder that any player in the field is capable of taking it low on any given day. 

6:30 a.m. - 18 taking its toll

Carnoustie's finishing stretch of 16-17-18 is one of the most difficult of any course in the Open championship rotation, and 18 in particular is showing its teeth early. Van Rooyen came to 18, a 299-yard par 4 nicknamed "Home," at five-under before finding a fairway bunker and scrambling his way to a bogey. Then Danny Willett came to 18 at three-under and he too made bogey to get in at two-under 69. You'll see many a good round stumble past the finish line this week, and there's a good chance the tough closing stretch sees some late fireworks come the weekend afternoons. 

Meanwhile, Kevin Kisner has tied the lead at four-under, while Patrick Cantlay is three-under. 

6:06 a.m. - Spieth, Fowler off to solid starts, Phil middling

Jordan Spieth is off to yet another good start in a major championship. The defending Open champion is two-under through his first holes after birdies on 2 and 4. Fowler, meanwhile, is one-under through three, as is Jon Rahm.  Phil Mickelson has had, especially for him, an uneventful opening round. He has nine pars, a birdie and a bogey through 11 holes and is even par. 

The two names atop the leaderboard are far from what anyone expected, which is not uncommon for early in a major. Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters champion who has struggled mightily since then and fallen outside the top 400 in the world rankings, is four-under through 16, while Erik van Rooyen is five-under while playing the 18th. 

3:58 a.m. - van Rooyen still leads, Willet making a run

After bogeying the first hole, Danny Willett birdied three straight on 4, 5 and 6 and is two-under through eight to make an early run. Willett sits one back from van Rooyen, who has cooled off a bit from his quick start, but still leads at three-under through nine. Sullivan has dropped to even par through 11.

Mickelson was able to save par on the second hole, par the third and found his first birdie on 4 to sit at one-under. With 39 players on the course, there are eight who are under par so far. 

3:20 a.m. - Phil tees off, van Rooyen leads by 2

Phil Mickelson is even through one, but went to the second tee and drove it way right over the ropes and onto the pathway for the gallery. Up on 6, van Rooyen had a look for eagle that broke a little too early, but he tapped in for birdie to take a two-shot lead at three-under. Sullivan dropped a shot on 7 and is tied second with eight other players at one-under. 

Meanwhile, there seems to be virtually no wind at Carnoustie and Thomas Pieters drove the ball nearly 400 yards to the green to start his round. Matthew Southgate sank the first eagle of the day on the par-5 No. 6. 

2:30 a.m. - Erik van Rooyen and Andy Sullivan tied for early lead

Sandy Lyle, who is competing in his 43rd (42nd consecutive) British Open, had the first tee shot of the tournament and, as predicted, the balls are running fast on the fairways. 

But while the fairways are baked out, the greens contrast greatly in both color and firmness. The first birdie of the day came in that first group when Andy Sullivan birdied on the opening hole. Sullivan is two-under through four holes and tied for the lead with Erik van Rooyen, who birdied his first two holes and is two-under through three in his British Open debut. Van Rooyen missed the cut last week at the Scottish Open, but had a T-4 finish in the Irish Open the week before.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)