LEADERBOARD –8 Young; -6 McIlroy; -5 C. Smith; -4 Brown, Kitayama, Westwood, Kennedy, Hovland, Gooch, Johnson, Scheffler SELECTED OTHERS –3 DeChambeau, Schauffele; -2 MacIntyre, Els, Hatton; -1 Spieth; +5 Woods
Amid a host of star names at the historic 150th Open, it was Cameron Young who harnessed the occasion best to hit the front on day one.
A year ago this week, Young missed the cut at the Memorial Health Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour. Twelve months on, he leads perhaps the most significant major in recent history.
The day began with much fanfare, 1999 champion Paul Lawrie getting proceedings up and running with the opening tee shot.
It was soon down to business. Webb Simpson and Cameron Tringale were foremost among the early frontrunners before fading on the back nine.
Young, however, was supreme. A bogey-free round got off to a flying start and he was five-under by the turn. Three more birdies on the back nine had him sitting pretty on eight-under by the time he took the acclaim of the packed-out galleries on 18.
Rory McIlroy was his closest challenger. He too had a near-perfect round, slightly soiled by one bogey on 13 but otherwise putting himself in a superb position from which to go on and end his eight-year major drought.
Cam Smith, tipped by many for great things at the Old Course, also put himself in the mix. Bucket-hat-clad Sheffield amateur Barclay Brown enjoyed his moment in the spotlight, heading a group of players on four-under, showing no sign of stage fright on his major championship debut.
For others, it was tougher. Tiger Woods double-bogeyed the first and never recovered, looking out of sorts as he struggled to a 78.
But it was Young’s day at the Home of Golf.
“I think we worked our way around the golf course really well,” he said.
“I don't think that I played a perfect round of golf. I scored really well. And I think we thought our way around kind of the way you have to out there.”