ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — The Latest on the British Open (all times local):
Cameron Young opened his first British Open by shooting 8-under 64 to take a three-stroke clubhouse lead at St. Andrews. Among the players on his tail are a couple of former champions.
Young two-putted for birdie at No. 18 to complete a clean card in his first competitive round at the home of golf. The American was 7 under after 12 holes and looked set to challenge the lowest 18-hole score at a major championship, Branden Grace’s 62 at the British Open in 2017.
Young made five straight pars — including three-putting at the par-5 No. 14 — before his eighth birdie of the round at the last.
Rory McIlroy, the 2014 champion, and the 52-year-old Ernie Els, who lifted the claret jug in 2002 and ’12, were 5 under midway through their back nines. Cameron Smith of Australia is in the clubhouse after a 67.
Phil Mickelson says he didn’t attend the champions’ dinner before the British Open because the R&A told him the club didn’t “think it’s a great idea you go.”
Mickelson won the British Open in 2013 at Muirfield, but he is among the players who have angered the PGA Tour by playing with LIV Golf, the Saudi-funded breakaway series which has caused a rift in the sport.
“The R&A contacted me a couple weeks before and said, ‘Look, we don’t think it’s a great idea you go, but if you want to, you can.’ I just didn’t want to make a big deal about it, so I said, ‘Fine,’” Mickelson said. “We both kind of agreed that it would be best if I didn’t.”
Greg Norman, the CEO of LIV Golf and a two-time Open champion, was asked not to come to St. Andrews for the champions’ dinner either at the 150th anniversary of the tournament because it might be a distraction.
Mickelson shot even par in the first round on the Old Course. He said missing the meal wasn’t taking away from his enjoyment at St. Andrews.
“I love being here,” Mickelson said. “Everybody here loves golf, and we find this place to be very spiritual.”
Cameron Young might be justifying all the pre-event talk of record low scores at St. Andrews.
Young rolled in a birdie putt from four feet at No. 12 and was leading by three shots on 7 under. Not bad for his first competitive round at the home of golf.
The American missed the cut in five of his first six majors. In the other — the PGA Championship this year — he was tied for the lead heading to the 14th tee in the final round but wound up finishing in third place.
With six holes remaining in his round, Young might be challenging the lowest 18-hole score at a major championship.
The record is held by Branden Grace with his 62 at Royal Birkdale in 2017.
Rory McIlroy has made three straight birdies from No. 5 and is in a share of second place on 4 under.
Barclay Brown is a member of the same English golf club as Matt Fitzpatrick and appears to be taking some inspiration from the recently crowned U.S. Open champion.
The 21-year-old amateur is the clubhouse leader in the opening round at his first British Open after shooting 4-under 68 at St. Andrews.
Brown is a member at Hallamshire Golf Club in Sheffield, from where Fitzpatrick also hails. Fitzpatrick won his first major last month at Brookline.
Distinctive at the home of golf in his colorful hat, Brown curled in a long, right-to-left birdie putt at No. 17 for the last of his five birdies in his round.
An amateur, Paul Dunne, shared the lead through 54 holes at the last Open at St. Andrews in 2015.
Erik van Rooyen is another withdrawal at St. Andrews.
The South African pulled out because of a back injury and has been replaced by Aaron Rai of England.
Rai drove to Scotland on Wednesday from his home in central England in the unlikely hope of playing at the home of golf. He was promoted to first alternate after Rikuya Hoshino replaced Justin Rose, who withdrew because of a back injury just before he was due to start his round.
Joohyung Kim is enjoying his first appearance at the British Open. Rory McIlroy enjoyed his first hole at St. Andrews, too.
Kim, a 20-year-old South Korean, reached the turn at 4 under and was in a three-way tie for the lead with Min Woo Lee of Australia and Cameron Young of the United States.
With a third-place finish at the Scottish Open last week, Kim underlined his liking of links. He briefly shared the lead in the final round.
McIlroy, seeking his first major title since 2014, was standing out in his brown-and-yellow attire and began his round by holing a putt from more than 50 feet for birdie.
Ian Poulter is delivering his usual dose of drama, and it’s all good at the British Open.
The flamboyant Englishman began his round by coming within a few yards of going out-of-bounds. And then he closed out the front nine by holing a 50-yard putt from the opposite side of the ninth green for an eagle 2.
That puts Poulter at 3 under, tied among early starters with Brandon Wu.
Meanwhile, Justin Rose and Alex Noren are both out of the British Open, but only one of them will be playing this week. Rose says he felt pain in his lower back after a swing with his driver in practice Wednesday. He was on the range Thursday morning but decided he couldn’t go.
Noren was at St. Andrews earlier in the week as first alternate. He wound up leaving for California to play the PGA Tour event, losing his spot at St. Andrews.
Justin Rose has withdrawn from the British Open because of a back injury.
He has been replaced in the field by Rikuya Hoshino of Japan.
The No. 50-ranked Rose appeared to be struggling with a back problem as he walked off the course Wednesday in his practice round.
Rose finished tied for fourth as an amateur at Royal Birkdale in 1998. The Englishman has two other top-10 finishes at the Open, in 2015 and ’18.
The silver claret jug was first awarded 150 years ago to the British Open champion. There it was Thursday morning on the first tee at St. Andrews as golf’s oldest championship began.
Paul Lawrie of Scotland, the Open champion from 1999, was selected to hit the first shot of this historic week that is all about the 150th edition at the home of golf. He used a yellow golf ball and found the wide fairway. The gutta-percha was the golf ball of choice in 1860 when the British Open began at Prestwick.
The 150th Open accounts for the championship being canceled by two world wars, one pandemic and one other occasion. The Open was not played in 1871 because Young Tom Morris had won the previous year for the third straight time. That meant he took possession of the champion’s belt. That’s the original trophy of the British Open.
It was a critical juncture for The Open. It was decided that the championship would rotate among Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. By the time they got it sorted out, it was too late to play in 1871. They also decided on a new trophy — the claret jug.
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