Cameron Young seized the lead in the first round of the 150th British Open at St Andrews on Thursday after an outstanding eight-under-par 64, while Rory McIlroy sat two strokes back but Tiger Woods endured a woeful afternoon on his return to the Old Course.
Woods was determined to feature this week as he continues his recovery from severe leg injuries suffered in a car crash last year, but he toiled for a six-over 78 in a grim round that dragged on over six hours.
In contrast Young, the 25-year-old American who first .ed St Andrews with his parents aged 13, produced a flawless round featuring no bogeys and eight birdies after teeing off in one of the first groups.
Young, ranked 32nd in the world, finished tied third in this year’s PGA Championship.
“I think any time you’re around the lead in a major championship or any PGA Tour event, frankly, you get more and more comfortable every time,” said Young.
The pressure may largely be on closest challenger McIlroy, whose six-under 66 included three straight birdies between the fifth and seventh holes.
McIlroy was the favourite for the Claret Jug coming into the week and the Northern Irishman, who won the Open in 2014, lived up to his billing in the opening round.
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His dropped just one shot at the par-four 13th and his score matched that in the opening round on his way to victory at Hoylake eight years ago.
Woods, twice an Open champion at St Andrews, never properly recovered from a disastrous start as he sent his approach to the first green into the Swilcan Burn and ended up with a double-bogey six.
In all he had two double-bogeys and five bogeys, with three birdies preventing a terrible round from being even worse.
He was almost certain to miss the cut.
“Looks like I’m going to have to shoot 66 [in the second round] to have a chance of making the weekend,” Woods said.