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Miguel Angel Jimenez
Miguel Angel Jimenez and his famous ponytail topped the Turnberry scoreboard on Thursday. (Heathcote/Getty Images)

The Daily Wrap-up: Open Championship, First Round

Miguel Angel Jimenez grabbed the lead with a 64 late in the day, but the big story Thursday at Turnberry was Tom Watson. The 59-year-old five-time Open champion carded a stunning 65 and owned the top spot on the scoreboard for much of the day, until 2003 champion Ben Curtis matched his 65.

TURNBERRY, Scotland (AP)-- On the eve of the Open Championship, Tom Watson got a modern-day text message from Jack Nicklaus’ wife. Then it was time to turn back the clock at Turnberry.

Thirty-two years after his epic “Duel in the Sun” with the Golden Bear, Watson took advantage of pristine conditions on the very same course to shoot a stunning 5-under 65 on Thursday. He held the lead most of the day until Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez claimed the top spot in the early evening with a 64, only one shot off the record for lowest score in any major championship.

Still, it was Watson, a five-time Open champion, who maintained the lead role -- if only for a day.

“Not bad for an almost 60-year-old,” said Watson, who turns that age in September.

He had been practicing well all week, and got an extra boost a day earlier when Barbara Nicklaus sent a text wishing him good luck.

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EASIEST HOLE TOUGHEST HOLE
The 538-yard par-5 7th. It played to a scoring average of 4.429 on Thursday. There were nine eagles, 82 birdies, 55 pars, nine bogeys and one double bogey. The 455-yard par-4 16th. It played to a scoring average of 4.320 on Thursday. There were 24 birdies, 87 pars, 20 bogeys, 22 double bogeys and three "others."

SHOT OF THE DAY ROUND OF THE DAY
Retief Goosen found himself up against the wall of a greenside bunker on the par-5 17th, got down on one knee and knocked his ball to within two feet. How can you argue with five-time open champion Tom Watson who, at age 59, put together a bogey-free 65 to hold the first-round for most of the day?

FEELING INSPIRED, WATSON CONJURES UP MORE LINKS MAGIC

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents

TURNBERRY, Scotland -- That Huck Finn grin of his has more laugh lines than it did back in 1977.

But make no mistake. Tom Watson can still make magic at Turnberry, like he did 32 years ago when he beat Jack Nicklaus in the epic “Duel in the Sun” to win the second of his five Open Championships.
 
He’s 59 now, a time when that same sun is setting on many careers. But Watson drew on his vast knowledge and experience to carve out a 65 that left him one shot off the lead at the 138th Open -- and dreaming of what could be another colossal win.

“I feel inspired playing here,” Watson acknowledged. “A lot of it has to do with just … being in the presence here at Turnberry again, just a culmination of a lot of things that have gone on already. Again, I feel that I'm playing well enough to win the golf tournament.

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SOLID 69 IMPORTANT TO HARRINGTON'S GROWING CONFIDENCE
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents

TURNBERRY, Scotland -- Padraig Harrington has won the last two Open Championships, but the Irishman played Thursday’s first round in the 138th renewal with a certain amount of what he called “trepidation.”

The swing changes he implemented earlier this year have been slow to take hold, and he has missed his last five cuts combined on the PGA TOUR and European Tour. That’s why the 69 he shot at Turnberry on Thursday was so important to the cause.

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CURTIS SURPRISES HIMSELF WITH OPENING 65
By T.J. Auclair, PGA.com Interactive Producer

TURNBERRY, Scotland -- For a guy who was “just hoping to find a fairway,” Ben Curtis sure made out OK in the first round of the 138th Open Championship at Turnberry.

Curtis, who shocked the world of golf with his win in the 2003 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s on his first try in golf’s oldest championship, matched 59-year-old Tom Watson by firing a fantastic 5-under 65 on Thursday to grab a share of the early lead before Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez posted a 6-under 64 late in the day.

“I've been playing pretty decent,” said Curtis, whose lone top-10 finish of the season was a tie for fourth at the Travelers Championship three weeks ago. “I mean, I haven't got a whole lot out of my game this year. To shoot 65 today, [I’m] a little surprised, even as easy as it was playing.

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WOODS RUES LOST OPPORTUNITIES AFTER OPENING 71
By T.J. Auclair, PGA.com Interactive Producer

TURNBERRY, Scotland -- Turnberry was as benign as could be and the sun was even shining on Thursday morning, making it prime for low scores in the first round of the 138th Open Championship.

Tiger Woods, however, couldn’t take advantage.

The world’s No. 1 player shot a 1-over 71 to start the Open Championship, digging himself a deep hole. Tom Watson, the 59-year-old, five-time Open Champion, posted a 5-under 65 for the clubhouse lead about an hour before Woods finished.

The 71 by Woods is his first over-par opening score in the Open Championship since he shot a 73 at Royal St. George’s in 2003 on his way to a tie for fourth.

“Well, I certainly made a few mistakes out there today,” said Woods, who is looking for his fourth Open Championship win. “Realistically, I probably should have shot about 1  or 2 under par today. But I made a few mistakes, and consequently I'm at 1 over.”

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INSIDE THE ROPES WITH THE PGA TOUR NETWORK
PGA TOUR Network correspondent Brian Katrek offers these observations from Thursday's action. Listen to PGA TOUR Live coverage on XM 146/SIRIUS 209 or right here at PGATOUR.COM.

How unusual were the sunny, windless conditions for the first round? Well, just one day without rain produced an actual dust problem in the TV compound. Seems the ground had dried to the point where passing carts were stirring up quite a bit of dust and it was causing problems with some of the equipment. Officials actually brought in hoses and sprayed the area down. It was apparently long overdue, as they had gone at least 16 hours in a row without rain.

Tiger Woods was on the bad end of the weather draw at the U.S. Open last month, but on Thursday, he got the best of it. Not that anyone had it bad on a sunny, warmish, completely still Thursday. Still, Tiger had to feel as though he passed up a gift by not shooting lower in Round 1. When I talked to him after his round, he did say he was anxious to go hit practice balls. That is something he has not been able to do in the last couple of years because of pain in his knee.

I am pumped about finally getting to share an otherwise meaningless note that has been in the media guide for the last few years. Follow me on this. … Geoff Ogilvy, says the guide, is a distant relative of Sir Angus Ogilvy. He is also somehow a descendant of Robert the Bruce. Robert the Bruce was the king of Scotland, and was born in a castle, the ruins of which are near the ninth hole on the Ailsa Course here at Turnberry.

Ogilvy birdied the ninth hole in the first round. It was one of the only bright spots in a round of 75. Now if the PGA TOUR would only play a tournament indoors, I can use the great nugget about Jonathan Kaye being an avid indoorsman.






 


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