Southport - Welshman Stuart Manley produced a flying finish
to his round to take the clubhouse lead early on the opening day of the British
Open at Royal Birkdale on Thursday.
Manley was one over par before an eagle at the par-5 17th,
the longest hole on the course, and then a birdie at the last saw him shoot a
The 38-year-old is making his debut at a major championship
having qualified courtesy of a second-place finish at the Johannesburg Open at
the beginning of the year.
Out on the course, Ian Poulter was two-under after 13 holes
having managed three birdies along with a bogey on the front nine.
The Englishman came through qualifying to secure a place in
the championship at the venue where he finished runner-up to Padraig Harrington
That remains his best performance at a major.
Justin Rose, the top-ranked Englishman in the field at 12 in
the world, was also two-under before a wayward drive at the sixth, the toughest
hole on the course, put him in trouble. A bogey saw him drop back to one-under.
Rose had started with a birdie at the first but many other
players came a cropper at the opening hole in the wet and chilly weather that
greeted daybreak in north-west England.
Mark O'Meara, the 1998 Open champion at Birkdale, had the
honour of hitting the first tee shot at 08:35 but his drive went out of bounds
to the right.
After needing three off the tee, he ended up with an ugly
quadruple-bogey eight and he eventually signed off for an 11-over-par opening
round of 81.
Among others struggling at the first, a tough par-4 playing
435 yards in the opening round, were South Korea's KT Kim and American duo
Maverick McNealy, the amateur, and Bryson DeChambeau. They all shot