Round 1 of the Open Championship

Oh please.

Please.

It’s only right.

Tied with two others for the lead in the Open Championship near completion of first-day play is a name who’s been familiar to casual golf fans for only a month. There, at 1 under with Graeme McDowell and Robert Allenby, is Rocco Mediate, who endeared himself to the golf world after pushing Tiger Woods for 91 holes at the U.S. Open.

Mediate, with his charm and easy smile, became a fan favorite even when put head-to-head with the most popular athlete in American sports. And now, after falling in a 19-hole playoff to Woods at the Open, he’s back contending at the very next major championship.

Oh please. Please. Please let us have Rocco host the Claret Jug on Sunday. What a moment that would be.

Greg Norman got into the house at even par, one shot back of the leaders. I said it this morning and I’ll say it again: Are you kidding me?

Adam Scott finished the day at even after playing at or near the top of the leaderboard all day. Might this be the week the No. 5 player in the world ascends to greatness?

The word on Retief Goosen is a lot like Els — either he has it one week or not at all. After playing the first round in 1 over, he might have it. If he wins a third major, he joins some rather elite complany.

Jim Furyk was hanging on this morning at 3 over, and his round and tournament could have really gotten away from him. But he closed strong and sits at 1 over, right in the thick of things. Playing like a favorite should.

Look out for K.J. Choi.

My boy Brandt Snedeker was dead in the water to start his round. At one point, he had five bogeys in his first six holes. He then had six bogeys through eight holes and found himself still 5 over heading to the ninth tee.

Looking like he surely would be joining Lefty, Els and Vijay on a Friday afternoon flight home to the States, Snedeker caught fire and played the last 10 holes in 3 under, including birdies at 17 and 18 to finish his day at 72, 2 over for the tournament. He’s tied for 16th and right there.

Go get ’em, Brandt.

11:30 a.m. est

A few early thoughts:

Rain, wind, and high scores on a brutal first day. While there are still a few groups left to tee off, no player has made the turn — and at least half the field has made the turn at this point –under par. Wow.

Who knows where the scores will end up, but it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els or Vijay Singh this weekend. Lefty took a 7 on the terrifying sixth hole to finish with a 9-over 79 while Els and Singh carded 80s. Ecchhh. See ya boys.

Greg Norman made the turn at even. Are you kidding me?

I was going to mention Adam Scott in my blog of picks yesterday, but with the broken right hand from the U.S. Open, I wasn’t sure he was completely whole. But he’s been brilliant early, and may actually hit the 10th tee at 1 under.

David Duval is in the house with a 3-over 73. Nice playing.

Lee Westwood isn’t clinically dead with a 75 to start his Open Championship, but he needs immediate medical assistance.

Sergio Garcia is off to a good start at 1 over through 4 after a dandy bunker shot on 4.

Jim Furyk hanging on at 3 over through 12. Can’t slip too far.

Brandt Snedeker is in trouble. Two bogeys through three holes. Uh-oh.

Tom Watson starts with a 74. He’s amazing over there.

Anthony Kim is even through six holes. He’s won twice already on two darn good golf courses. But it’s his first taste of links golf. Can he really contend?

Well, I wasn’t far off on Geoff Ogilvy. Well, far off if you consider I picked him to win. But I did say I probably jinxed him to an 82 on the first day.

Close. He had a 77.

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Filed under British Open, Designated Hitter, Golf, Phil Mickelson, Sports, Sports columns, The Sanford Herald, Tiger Woods, U.S. Open

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