Tour Confidential: What surprised you most on Thursday at the Open Championship?
Check in each day of this week’s U.S. Open for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the hottest topic in the tournament, and join the conversation by tweeting us @GOLF_com.
Day one of the Open Championship at St. Andrews is in the books, and Cameron Young, at eight-under, leads, while three of the biggest names in the game — Rory McIlroy, Cameron Smith and Scottie Scheffler — are close behind. Of course, a few stars also struggled, most notably Tiger Woods, who shot a 78. What, to you, is the biggest surprise from Thursday?
Sean Zak, senior editor (@sean_zak): It’s a simple word, and will seem a bit dramatic, but Cameron Young sucked last week. He shot 13 over in two rounds at the Scottish Open and barely beat anyone. And six days later, here he is leading the tournament by two. A 64 that could have been a 62 at the firmest Old Course we’ve ever seen. Color me surprised.
James Colgan, assistant editor (@jamescolgan26): To your point, Zak, Cam Young himself offered that he “shot a million” last week. Golf is weird. My big surprise was Justin Thomas. The best shotmaker on a golf course built for him with a caddie with loads of experience, and the best they could do was even-par? Disappointing start for JT, who might already be too far back.
Josh Sens, senior writer (@joshsens): I don’t think anyone expected Woods to rush out and grab the tournament by the throat. But six-over through seven holes in benign weather on his favorite course? I would have taken the under on that wager. You would have, too.
Josh Berhow, managing editor (@Josh_Berhow): How about that they almost didn’t finish the first round and that afternoon groups took six hours to play 18 holes? Now that’s a long day. Although I’ll admit it was a blast to watch the ball roll, bounce and turn out here. Other than that, Lee Westwood was two-over after two and finished four-under. A big day for PGA Tour defectors, too — Westwood, Gooch, DJ and Poulter all on the first page of the leaderboard. I don’t know if that’s a surprise, but let’s just call it an observation.
Luke Kerr-Dineen, Game Improvement Editor (@lukekerrdineen): The course, which was brown and absolutely brilliant. It made for the kind of day that will live long in the memory. Remember when St. Andrews was so dry that 51 year-old Paul Laurie drove the ball to six feet on the 18th? That Bryson hit a 6-iron over 300 yards? That Xander casually drove his ball more than 400 yards down the slimmest of fairways on the 17th? It was such a fun, fascinating, unique kind of golf that you could only see on a links course like this. And for the venue to be the Old Course makes it all the better.
Nick Piastowski, senior editor (@nickpia): Robert Dinwiddie is ranked 1,779th in the world. He’s also just three shots out of the lead. Yeah, that’s surprising. And pretty cool.