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Friday, July 19, 2013

British Open First Round: Johnson Leads, Heat Takes its Toll


Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Tiger Woods played a solid first round at Muirfield.

As the first round of the British Open wore on Thursday, and Muirfield’s already baked grass absorbed more heat, early clubhouse leader Zach Johnson was looking luckier and luckier to have played his round early.

His five-under 66 held up for the lead, one shot ahead of Mark O’Meara and Rafael Cabrera-Bello of Spain. The best round of the afternoon was turned in by none other than Tiger Woods, whose two-under 69 was accomplished on greens that started out fast and reached diabolical by the end of the day.

“It got quick,” Woods said. “It got really quick. It’s so fiery out there. It’s hard to fathom how far the ball is going downwind. We hit a couple 6-irons 285. With some of these pin locations, it was hard to get the ball close.”

Shiv Kapur was having no trouble at all with the conditions on the front nine, scorching it for six birdies to roar into the lead. But the back nine was a much tougher go, and a double bogey and a bogey dropped him back to three-under.

Phil Mickelson, trying to win his first British Open, played early and played well and was two under after his 69.

Clearly, the conditions were a far cry from the high winds and horizontal rain in 2002 that helped spoil Woods’s attempt to complete the Grand Slam that year. But whether it’s hot or raining, Muirfield is hardly a course ripe for scoring.

Throughout the tournament, keep tabs on who is making a run for the lead with our live leader board.

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