Who will Win the Open Championship?
Follow all the action live from the first round at Royal St George’s as The Open gets underway.
After being postponed by a year, Shane Lowry will belatedly defend the Claret Jug after his stunning win at Royal Portrush, when he defied a stacked field and torrential rain to close out a popular and moving victory upon The Open’s return to Northern Ireland.
Lowry will face strong competition from a stacked field of competitors in Sandwich, though, with Jon Rahm in exceptional form after breaking his major duck at the US Open last month. The Spaniard played impressively at the Scottish Open last week and has a proven track record on links courses, having twice won the Irish Open. Elsewhere, the likes of Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele will both hope to contend, while Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau will put aside their hostility in the hope of success. On the home front, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton can all consider themselves among the challengers while, of course, Rory McIlroy remains in close pursuit of his second Open championship. Follow all the action from the first round below:
THE OPEN 2021: CASEY FELT NO NERVES
“My nerves are, they’re still there, but not a lot anymore having played as many majors as I have,” he said. “Now it’s more excitement. I mean, there was a time when I was extremely nervous teeing it up, to the point where it affected my performance, and now honestly, I couldn’t be more excited to play.
“I feel — the desire is still there. I haven’t won one. I desperately want to, but I don’t feel like that’s adding pressure. I just feel excitement every time. It’s like an opportunity. And I think more so what’s been interesting the last couple of years with this whole pandemic and having fans away, the fans being back, I love it. I missed it…. The nerves are not a thing. Only time I feel like I get really nervous now is the first tee of the Ryder Cup.”
Tom Kershaw15 July 2021 13:20
THE OPEN 2021: CASEY AND HOVLAND CARD 68
Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland are both in the clubhouse on 68. That’s a very respectable showing from the pair, who are both set to be included in Padraig Harrington’s Ryder Cup team.
Over on 12, Will Zalatoris, who finished second on his Masters debut in April, is making an equally impressive showing on his Open debut so far. The American has just holed out from the fairway for eagle and sits at -3.
Tom Kershaw15 July 2021 13:18
THE OPEN 2021: LOWRY RALLIES AT 12
Defending champion Shane Lowry has endured a difficult day so far but now he’s produced one of its finest shots at the 12th. If he can take that birdie chance, he’ll go back to +1 and hopefully, that can help build some momentum.
Out front, Mackenzie Hughes has birdied the 11th to move to -5 and now has a one-shot lead over Brian Harman.
Tom Kershaw15 July 2021 13:06
THE OPEN 2021: KOEPKA FINISHES IN 69
Brooks Koepka ends his opening round on -1. The American finished tied fourth at Royal Portrush in 2019 and certainly has the quality of ball-striking to mount a serious challenge come Sunday afternoon, although he may well find himself a good four shots back by the end of today.
Meanwhile, his arch-rival, Bryson DeChambeau, has made an admirable recovery, with birdies at 12 and 12 taking him back to even par.
Tom Kershaw15 July 2021 12:55
THE OPEN 2021: GARCIA MOVES TO -2
Sergio Garcia bursts into life now, too, with birdies at the par-3 6th and the par-4 8th.
The Spaniard came bitterly close to winning in 2007 when he held a three-shot lead over Steve Stricker and a six-shot lead over the rest of the field going into the final round at Carnoustie. But needing a par to win on the 18th, his nerves betrayed him and Padraig Harrington eventually clinched the Claret Jug in the playoff.
Tom Kershaw15 July 2021 12:46
THE OPEN 2021: OOSTHUIZEN SURGES TO -3
It had been a fairly slow-paced start for Louis Oosthuizen, who parred his opening seven holes in succession, but a hat-trick of birdies sees the South African surge to -3. The 2010 champion is in fine form and finished as a runner-up at both the US Open and the PGA this summer.
Tom Kershaw15 July 2021 12:38
THE OPEN 2021: SULLIVAN IN CLUBHOUSE ON -3
Andy Sullivan carded a 67 to leave himself in a great position heading into the second round. Here are some highlights of how he did it.
Tom Kershaw15 July 2021 12:36
THE OPEN 2021: HUGHES TAKES SHARE OF LEAD
Mackenzie Hughes, who finished in a tie for 15th at the US Open, is enjoying an excellent start, making the turn in 32 before another birdie at the 10th sees him move to -4 and into a share of the lead. There’s a pack of six players one shot back at -3 including Jordan Spieth and Louis Oosthuizen.
Tom Kershaw15 July 2021 12:35
THE OPEN 2021: DECHAMBEAU STRUGGLES
Bryson DeChambeau is trudging down the 11th a little disconsolately. He’s +2 and yet crack the code of links golf, despite no doubt working through a long list of equations.
Tom Kershaw15 July 2021 12:10
THE OPEN 2021: HARMAN MOVES TO -5
Brian Harman’s surge at the top of the leaderboard continues with the American now at -5. Spieth and Hovland are just two back with conditions primed for low scoring as the sun blazes overhead with only a gentle breeze.
Tom Kershaw15 July 2021 11:43