Open Championship

Jimenez takes early lead

2013-07-18 11:23
Miguel Angel Jimenez (AFP)

Gullane - Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez set a blistering early pace on Thursday as the British Open got underway at Muirfield.

The 49-year-old crowd pleaser, who missed the early part of the season after breaking his leg while skiing in December, birdied the first three holes to edge ahead.

He then bagged another birdie at the fifth to get to four under, leading by two.

England's Oliver Fisher was on two under 34 at the turn following an eventful front nine that saw him offset four birdies with two bogeys.

Bernd Wiesberger of Austria was also on two under after six holes as was 2009 Open champion Stewart Cink after five holes.

Playing conditions at the famed East Lothian links were perfect with clear skies and little or no breeze, but there were still some nightmare starts with both local lad Lloyd Saltman and rising American Brooks Koepka racking up eights.

Tournament favourite Tiger Woods had a mid-afternoon tee-off time in the company of two other fancied players, Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen.

The 37-year-old American, who insists he has fully recovered from an elbow injury that has sidelined him since last month's US Open, is seeking to win his 15th major title.

The focus of attention among the early morning starters was likely to be on Rory McIlroy, carrying a new "pear-shaped" Nike driver in his bag and hoping that that club can help him find the form that has eluded him since he switched equipment providers during the winter break.

The 24-year-old Ulsterman goes out at 9:44 am (0844 GMT) with American four-time major winner Phil Mickelson and rising Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama.

Three groups ahead of them are US Open champions Justin Rose, defending champion Ernie Els and American Brandt Snedeker.


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