Ten Notes to Know: The Open, Round One

July 18, 2019
Justin Ray

1. J.B. Holmes tied the lowest round of his major championship career, opening at Royal Portrush with 66. Holmes leads following a major championship round for just the second time in his career – the other instance came at the 2008 PGA, when he led after 36 holes by one stroke.

2. Significance of day one: each of the last 20 Open Champions were at or within five strokes of the lead after the first round. Eleven of the previous 20 winners were inside the top-ten after the opening round.

3. Brooks Koepka continues his incredible major championship performance, firing an opening round 68. Since the beginning of 2017, Koepka is a combined 67-under-par in the majors. That is 37 shots better than any other player during that span – Rickie Fowler is second, at 30-under-par.

4. Koepka has now been in sixth place or better following 15 of the last 17 major championship rounds played. That is by far the most of any player in that span – the next two names on that list are Dustin Johnson with eight rounds, and Gary Woodland with seven.

5. Tommy Fleetwood shot a bogey-free 68 to begin his Open Championship – his third career bogey-free round in a major. Fleetwood began his career a combined 14-over-par in his first three Open starts. Since then, he’s a combined 5-under. This was Tommy’s ninth straight worldwide round of 70 or lower.

6. Sergio Garcia shot 68, the seventh time in his career he has started an Open with a round in the 60s. Fellow Spaniard Jon Rahm also shot 68 in his first round. Sunday will be the 40-year anniversary, to the day, of Seve Ballesteros‘ first Open Championship victory at Royal Lytham.

7. It was an extremely disappointing day for Rory McIlroy, who shot an 8-over-par round of 79. Rory made a quadruple-bogey on his opening hole, and a triple-bogey on his last hole – the first time in his major championship career he has made multiple scores of triple-bogey or worse in a round.

8. Tiger Woods shot a disastrous 7-over-par 78, tying his second-worst career round in an Open Championship. For Woods, only his third round in 2002 – an 81 in brutal weather conditions – has ever seen him post a worse score in The Open.

9. Ryan Fox made history on Thursday, recording the lowest back nine score in the history of The Open. Fox carded a 29, making a remarkable six birdies coming in.

10. Looking to the second round: 88 percent of Open Champions the last 50 years have been in the top-10 after 36 holes.

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