Jimenez’s 64 highlights memorable first round

Miguel Angel Jimenez’s long birdie putt at the 18th not only gave him a one-stroke lead, but with a 64 the Spaniard tied for the lowest first-round score in British Open history. Seven times before him a player had shot 63, including twice at Turnberry (Mark Hayes 1977; Greg Norman 1986), but never in the first round.

Unfortunately for Jimenez, that may not bode well for his chances of victory. Of the five players who previously opened with a 64, none went on to win.

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That was Anthony Kim lying down on the job in the first round of the 138th British Open.

The quintuple-bogey 9 he had made a few holes earlier was clearly on his mind, but the pain in his neck was what prompted Kim to stretch out and call for trainer Darby Rich.

For several minutes, Rich worked on Kim, while playing competitors Retief Goosen and Rory McIlroy waited patiently at the seventh tee. Rich’s work did the trick, or so it seems, because Kim proceeded to repair the damage of that second hole — birdies at the par-5 seventh and par-4 10th got him to 2-over.

However, Kim hit his approach into the burn at the par-4 16th, then failed to birdie the par-5 17th. Though he birdied the par-4 18th, Kim shot 3-over 73 to sit nine off of Jimenez’s lead.

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Tiger Woods’ one-over-par round (71) shouldn’t be a shock. After all, he’s broken par in the first round of a major just 13 times in 54 tries. But seven of those came in the British Open, so perhaps it should come as a surprise. If he is to storm back from seven off the lead to win a fourth Claret Jug, Woods will buck a at least one trend: he’s won each of his three British Opens on the strength of a sub-par opening round … Of his 14 major titles, only two came after Woods opened with an over-par score: In 2005 at the Masters when he shot 74 to sit seven off of Chris DiMarco’s lead; and in 2008 at the U.S. Open when he started with a 72. But in each case Woods was higher in the standings (T-33 at the Masters, T-19 at the U.S. Open) than he currently is (T-68).

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Sir Nick Faldo? More like Sore Nick Faldo, since the three-time Open champion celebrated his recent knighthood by shooting 79 … Trying to win a third straight Claret Jug, Padraig Harrington strung together a rock-solid round, two birdies and one bogey for a 69. That wasn’t the case for last year’s runner-up, Ian Poulter. The Englishman was one of 11 who went without a birdie as he shot 75 … At the other end of the spectrum were those who went bogey-free: Miguel Angel Jimenez (64), Tom Watson (65) and John Senden (66) … Geoff Ogilvy and Lucas Glover each double-bogeyed both the par-3 sixth and par-3 15th. Glover added a double at the par-4 third, but managed to come home with 72. Ogilvy, meanwhile, shot 75 … Chad Campbell also made three double-bogeys in his round of 73.

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John Daly hadn’t broken 70 in a British Open since going for 69 in Round 2 at St. Andrews in 2005. What’s more, he had been a whopping 93 over in 28 rounds after his win at St. Andrews in 1995. So what happens? Attired in his Loudmouth pants (lime green with white), Daly opened with a bogey, closed with a bogey, but made an eagle and four birdies in between to shoot 2-under 68. He also confirmed that this figures to be his last week in Europe for a while and that he’s headed toward the PGA Tour. Daly said he’d play next week in Canada, then go to the Buick Open and PGA Championship. He’d return to Europe if he were not to make the FedEx Cup playoffs.

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Ross Fisher opened with a 69 and again faced questions about his wife (Joanne), who is expecting the couple’s first child any day. “I’m hoping to be there at the birth,” Fisher said. “Hopefully she’ll hold on for another three days.” … It was a good day for the veteran crowd, led by Tom Watson’s 65. Greg Norman, however, didn’t follow suit. One year after nearly winning at Birkdale, Norman, 54, shot 77 and had no excuses. “Conditions are the easiest I’ve seen (for a British Open),” he said. “I wasn’t hitting the ball that solid (coming in) and it was disappointing that I wasn’t walking to the first tee feeling confident.”

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  • Mark O’Meara matched his best opening round (67) in a British Open and broke 70 for the first time since Round 3 at Troon in 2004.
  • Stewart Cink recorded his best-ever score (66) in a British Open.
  • In as a last-minute replacement for Jeev Milkha-Singh, John Senden shot 66. It’s just the second time in 25 rounds of major-championship play that he’s broken 70.
  • Franceso Molinari was 4-under through 15, but finished bogey, bogey, triple-bogey to shoot 71.
  • For all you Saltman fans out there, Eliot easily handled his brother Lloyd, 70-75.