The Open day one: Jordan Spieth plays down ‘Grace effect’ following fine start
Jordan Spieth remains unconvinced that a curious coincidence means he has a 50-50 chance of winning the 149th Open Championship, although his prospects look bright following a superb start at Royal St George’s.
South Africa’s Branden Grace has played alongside the eventual winner in the first two rounds in both 2018 and 2019, with Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau getting the prized draw this year.
And although DeChambeau complained that his driver “sucks” after an opening 71, Spieth had no cause for concern following an opening 65 to lie a shot off the lead held by fellow former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.
“I think that’s a coincidence,” Spieth said with a smile when asked about the ‘Grace effect’. “If it happens four or five times in a row, maybe people start paying to see who can get paired with him the first two rounds.”
Oosthuizen, who won at St Andrews in 2010 and lost a play-off at the same venue five years later, carded a flawless six-under-par 64 to enjoy a one-shot lead over Spieth and Brian Harman, with 2009 champion Stewart Cink part of a five-strong group on four under.
Major champions Danny Willett and Justin Rose led the home challenge on three under alongside Tommy Fleetwood, Jack Senior and Andy Sullivan, while Rory McIlroy birdied two of his last five holes to shoot level par as US PGA winner Phil Mickelson slumped to an 80.
Tweet of the day
Jason Sobel takes a comic view of Sergio Garcia’s traffic troubles on the way to the course
Quote of the day
Bryson DeChambeau’s claim that his driver “sucks” was met with a withering response from manufacturers Cobra.
Shot of the day
Brandt Snedeker almost made a hole-in-one on the 16th and then made a second consecutive two on the 17th.
Round of the day
Former champion Louis Oosthuizen got off to a brilliant start with a bogey-free 64.
Statistic of the day
Germany’s Marcel Siem qualified by winning a Challenge Tour event and enjoyed a very happy birthday on Thursday.
The 15th played back into the wind and to a scoring average of 4.365. Just seven of the 156-strong field managed a birdie.
The par-five 14th was straight downwind and Rory McIlroy reached it with two long irons to set up one of 80 birdies on the day. The hole played to an average of 4.577.
A breezy and overcast start with breaks in the cloud possible by mid-late morning bringing sunny intervals. Any remaining cloud will clear leaving dry, sunny spells. Winds easing a little at 15-20mph.
Key tee times
1020 – Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed (USA), Cameron Smith (Aus)
1426 – Bryson DeChambeau (USA), Branden Grace (Rsa), Jordan Spieth (USA)
1437 – Brian Harman (USA), Mackenzie Hughes (Can), Dylan Frittelli (Rsa)
1459 – Shane Lowry, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Jon Rahm (Spa)
Rory McIlroy takes one-shot lead into final round in Dubai after shooting a 67
England’s Sam Horsfield is just a shot off the lead, one ahead of Scot Robert MacIntyre.
Double bogey on final hole sees Rory McIlroy slip shot off the pace in Dubai
The round one leader is a shot behind Ryder Cup team-mate Shane Lowry, England’s Sam Horsfield and American John Catlin.
I’m on the right path – Rory McIlroy excited about road to next majors challenge
McIlroy is now a combined 148 under par in the £6.6million season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
Open champion Collin Morikawa determined to take chances in Race to Dubai bid
Morikawa had the chance to top the Order of Merit by winning last year’s DP World Tour Championship.
Rory McIlroy unlikely to change schedule despite new-look European Tour
The European Tour will be known as the DP World Tour from the 2022 season but Florida-based McIlroy will continue to focus on the PGA Tour.
Punter’s pointers at the DP World Tour Championship: Course and desert specialists to the fore
It’s the final week of the 2021 European Tour season and the best 50 players of the season are convening at Jumeirah’s Earth Course.
JB Hansen wins AVIV Dubai Championship to claim second European Tour title
The Dane finished a shot clear of Italy’s Francesco Laporta and Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger.
Halfway leader Antoine Rozner vows to ‘stay aggressive’ at Dubai Championship
The Frenchman is on 15 under par, one shot ahead of JB Hansen and Francesco Laporta.
European Tour rebrand ‘such a positive boost’ for golf, says Stephen Gallacher
The European Tour will be known as the DP World Tour from next season.