Open Championship

SA's Van Rooyen takes early lead at Open

2018-07-19 13:15
erik van rooyen
Erik van Rooyen (AP)

South Africa - South Africa's Erik van Rooyen put down an early marker at the Open Championship as a four-under-par first round of 67 gave him the clubhouse lead on Thursday morning.

LIVE: Open Championship - Round 1

Van Rooyen went out in the second group of the day at Carnoustie, teeing off at 07:46 SA time.

On a perfect summer's morning on Scotland's east coast, he had five birdies, including at the opening two holes, and was on course for a flawless first round until he dropped a shot at the difficult 18th.

The 28-year-old, who qualified for his first Open by coming second at the Joburg Open late last year, was two shots ahead of English duo Danny Willett and Matthew Southgate.

Willett, the 2016 Masters champion who missed the cut at this year's Masters and US Open, was enjoying a fine round, featuring three straight birdies from the fourth.

However, he dropped shots at the 17th and the 18th for a 69. Southgate's round featured two eagles, two birdies and four bogeys.

Scottish veteran Sandy Lyle, the Open champion back in 1985, hit the first tee shot of the day at 07:35 SA time but ended up with a four-over round of 75.

Meanwhile, reigning Open champion Jordan Spieth teed off at 10:58 SA time and birdied two of the opening four holes.

A number of big-hitters have afternoon starts in the first round, including Rory McIlroy, world No 1 Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods.

Given the conditions, Van Rooyen will do well to hold onto his lead, and the record low first-round score at an Open here - Sergio Garcia's 65 in 2007 - could come under threat.

There are 12 South Africans in the field this week: Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Ernie Els, Zander Lombard, Retief Goosen, George Coetzee, Dylan Frittelli, Shaun Norris and amateur Jovan Rebula.

Read more on:    the open  |  erik van rooyen  |  golf


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