Wake up! The 147th Open is upon us. All sorts of things happened while you were sleeping, and not all of them even happened on site. (Check out the live leaderboard here.)
You may have heard that Carnoustie is playing hard and fast. Well, we weren’t lying. Players are going to hit the ball very far, starting on the 1st hole. Thomas Pieters was the first example. Jon Rahm followed.
Jhonny Vegas made it…barely
The Venezuelan pro unfortunately found out last week that his visa to travel to Scotland expired the day he intended to fly. Not exactly the start you’re looking for. Over the past week, he’s had passport delivery issues, flight delays and a complete rerouting of his travel. It led him to this itinerary: Houston to Toronto to Glasgow, only to catch a helicopter to Carnoustie. Unfortunately, his clubs didn’t follow the same path, so he’s playing with a set assembled last minute by TaylorMade staffers on-site. Rest assured, he parred the opener. You can read more about his story here.
Kevin Kisner is your leader in the clubhouse
Kisner is winless for the past 14 months on Tour, but he came out blazing Thursday at Carnoustie. After dropping a shot on the 5th hole, Kisner played the final 13 in five under to hold the solo clubhouse lead by one over Erik Van Rooyen. The South Carolina native made an eagle on the 6th hole, a birdie on the 8th and then added three straight birdies on holes 13, 14 and 15.
Kisner grinded his way through missed greens on the final three holes to get in the clubhouse. With wind speeds expected to increase as the afternoon rolls on, it’s fair to expect him to hold at least a share of the top spot.
Danny Willett is back?
Willett shot one of best rounds of the early morning wave despite starting his round with a bogey on the 1st hole. The Englishman made three straight birdies on Nos. 4, 5 and 6, making the turn in 34. He added birdies on the 10th and 13th before dropping shots on the 17th and 18th. He signed for a 69 to trail by two.
Willett struggled mightily to begin his season, but he has amassed three top 20 finishes in his last five weeks. Could he be turning things around? Through 18 holes, he sure is.
Sandy Lyle was decked out in Open gear
Lyle, 1985 British Open champ, held the honor of hitting the first tee shot Thursday, so regardless of how he played, he’d at least have some cameras on him. Whether that was good or bad, it became some free branding for the event merchandise.
Lyle started hot in that gear, too! The 60-year-old made a couple of birdies on his front nine and turned in one under. Unfortunately he ran out of steam on the back nine and finished the day with a four-over 75.