Three stars from the opening round at the British Open

Friday July 20th, 2012
Brandt Snedeker shot a bogey-free 66 late in the day in Round 1.
Robert Beck / SI

At the end of hockey games, there is a tradition of acknowledging great performances by clearing the ice and then calling out, one by one, three players who did something special. In that spirit, here are my "Three Stars" from Thursday's opening round at the British Open:

1. Adam Scott. After celebrating his 32nd birthday three days ago, the Aussie shot a 64 that equaled the lowest score at a British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes. It included eight birdies and two bogeys and gave Scott the overnight lead.

Scott admitted the idea of shooting a 62 entered his mind, fleetingly, as he neared the conclusion of his round. "I was waiting to use the bathroom going to the 17th tee, and I did look at the leaderboard and realized it was a par 70," he said. "I also probably then realized that I wasn't going to be the guy to shoot 62. It's one of those things that you don't want to go through your mind, thinking about your final score and stuff like that. So I got rid of that quickly and got on to playing the 17th."

While Scott did make a bogey on the 18th, his 64 was just the third time he's started a British Open with a round in the 60s. It was also nine shots better than his opening round of the 2001 British Open at Royal Lytham.

2. James Morrison. There has not been an English winner at the Open since Nick Faldo won at Muirfield in 1992, and with players like Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter in the field, few would have predicted that Morrison would be the low Englishman on day one.

Morrison, who was the medalist at the qualifying event played at Sunningdale Golf Club, shot 68 Thursday morning.

Sure, he's got the same name as the late lead singer of The Doors, but this Morrison recently made headlines after the European Tour reprimanded him for tweeting that Celtic Manor, site of this year's Wales Open and the 2010 Ryder Cup, is a dump. Although the Tweets have been removed from his feed (@jimbogolf1), it was widely reported that he wrote, "one more round and then can't get over that bridge quick enough!"

On Thursday when Morrison was asked what it was like to walk off the 18th green and hear cheers from the crowd, he gave no indication that he wants to leave Lancashire any time soon. "There's not many people in there right now," he said at the time, "but it was still a nice cheer and [my caddie and I] were saying that it would be nice to have that coming down the stretch on Sunday, having a large cheer. Hopefully I get a chance to do something like that."

3. Brandt Snedeker. There were 156 players at Royal Lytham and St. Annes on Thursday, but only three didn't have to write a square around any of their scores. Snedeker, winner of the Famers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in January, gets the star after shooting a bogey-free 66. India's Anirban Lahiri also deserves a tip of the cap for shooting a bogey-free 68, as does Bob Estes for carding a bogey-free 69.

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