Day 1 at ROYAL BIRKDALE
Keep that card
Stuart Manley: The 38-year-old journeyman from Wales ranked No. 520 in the world teed off in his first British Open on Thursday after 13 years of struggling as a pro. He stuck to his game plan of avoiding the bunkers and made 13 pars before an eagle-birdie finish to cap off a 2-under 68 that for a time was the best score on the leaderboard. He started Round 2 three shots off the lead held by Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and Matt Kuchar.
Toss that card
Louis Oosthuizen: The 2010 British Open champion has a long, long way to go if he’s going to see his name etched on the Claret Jug again this year. Oosthuizen played holes 13-16 in a combined 6 over par to finish 8 over for the round, good for 151st place out of 156 competitors.
On the course with …
Mark O’Meara: The 1998 champion at Royal Birkdale was honored with the distinction of hitting the first shot of this year’s Open. He actually got to do it twice. O’Meara’s opening drive on the notoriously tough first hole rode the wind into the gorse bushes on the right. He hit another tee shot, this one into a bunker on the left. In all, the first group — or “Game” as it’s known — took 18 shots on the first hole. O’Meara made quadruple-bogey 8, Ryan Moore took a double bogey, and Chris Wood had to get up and down from 40 yards for a par.
British Open moment
Justin Thomas added a touch of sartorial splendor to the British Open, sporting a throwback skinny tie and cardigan as he made his way around Royal Birkdale for Round 1. The American looked somewhat like a golfer of old in the outfit, which got some notice from a BBC announcer, who wondered why Thomas had his tie loosened instead of properly tied. “It almost looks like he has just come back from the pub,” he said.
• Phil Mickelson limped to a 3-over 73 and for the first time in 18 years played a round at the British Open without a birdie.
• 1996 British Open champion Tom Lehman shot 2 over while fellow Champions Tour player Steve Stricker finished even par.
• David Rickman, rules director of the R&A, reversed a two-shot penalty assessed to Jon Rahm for improving his lie on No. 17. That turned a bogey into a birdie, and a first-round 71 into a 69.
Par-4, 499-yard No. 6: The toughest hole the last two Opens held at Birkdale, in 1998 and 2008, showed its teeth again. Eight players made double bogey or worse at No. 6, which is protected by three bunkers at the front and surrounded by dunes.
Quote of the day
“You’re Rory McIlroy. What are you doing?”
— Caddie J.P. Fitzgerald, to his boss, after the four-time major champion bogeyed four of his first five holes. McIlroy responded with steady pars and birdies on four of the final eight holes to shoot 1-over 71.
Tweet of the day
“Nothing speaks more to the Open weather predicted later this week than the number of guys who chose to wear their white pants outfits [Thursday].”
— Newsweek contributor Eamon Lynch (@eamonlynch )
There will be wind. There will be rain. Friday at Royal Birkdale figures to be a brutal test for the field. Golf Channel began coverage at 12:30 a.m.