Americans dominating British Open
Americans have won the last six British Opens played at Royal Troon, and they were dominating again on the leaderboard early in the first round.
Patrick Reed shot 5-under-par 66, and three others from the U.S. recorded 67s – Justin Thomas, Steve Stricker and Billy Horschel.
Two Americans who have won the Open Championship, Phil Mickelson and Justin Leonard, were off to strong starts. Mickelson was 5 under through 10 holes and Leonard 4 under through 13.
With heavy rain expected on Friday, the weather on the seaside links course was gorgeous, bathed in bright sunshine. The scoring conditions were ideal. The wind was light and the course was playing soft because of rain earlier in the week.
Reed, a 25-year-old, four-time PGA Tour winner who professes to love links golf, took advantage of his early tee time. His round including holing out his second shot from the fairway at the third hole for an eagle. Reed capped the round with a birdie at 18.
“To come over here and see the sun, I felt like today was a lot easier than what I’ve had to deal with all last week (at the Scottish Open),” Reed said. “So it kind of allowed me to be a little more aggressive on lines with iron shots into the greens, because I wasn’t trying to play too much of wind or trying to really shape a ball or trying to hole it into things because really the wind was only blowing 5 of 10 (mph) out there today.”
Thomas, a 23-year-old playing in his first Open, roared to a 31 on his front nine, but ran into trouble on the par-4 15th and made a double-bogey.
Stricker, the 49-year-old who is playing in his 14th Open, birdied three of his last five holes.
Among the higher-ranked players who had finished, Rory McIlroy posted the best score with a 2-under 69. Jordan Spieth finished at even par, and world No. 1 Jason Day struggled to a 2-over 73.