Begay sets early Open pace - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Begay sets early Open pace

Notay Begay, the native American who was a college and Walker Cup team-mate of Tiger Woods, showed the world number one the way with a lightning start to the 129th Open championship at St Andrews today.

Notay Begay, the native American who was a college and Walker Cup team-mate of Tiger Woods, showed the world number one the way with a lightning start to the 129th Open championship at St Andrews today.

While Woods began his bid to become the youngest player ever to win all four majors with seven successive pars - and had to work hard for a couple of them - Begay went to the turn in five-under-par 31.

Winner of his last two US Tour events, the 27-year-old, who spent seven nights in jail earlier this season after being convicted of drink-driving, led by a stroke from Dubliner Paul McGinley.

Also prominent was Andrew Coltart, who played the front nine in 33 on his return to the links where he helped Scotland win the Dunhill Cup in 1995.

Nick Faldo continued his comeback with two birdies in the first five holes and Darren Clarke was two under as well with five to play.

But it was Begay producing the main fireworks. Only two of the first 39 players onto the Old Course managed to birdie the 376-yard first, but he was one of them and he followed that with four birdies in a row from the long fifth.

That run was completed with a 40-footer at the 175-yard eighth and he almost made it five in succession, but his 10-foot effort on the next narrowly missed.

McGinley, who had set the pace at Lytham four years ago after a hole in one, bogeyed the second but birdied three of the next four and started for home with two more.

American Fred Funk, who hired Faldo's former caddie Fanny Sunesson in March when she parted company with Sergio Garcia, also capitalised on the fine early conditions with five birdies in six holes from the fifth after bogeying the 464-yard fourth.

That took him into the lead for a while and then alongside McGinley in second place, but he ran up a six at the long 14th.

Woods, not surprisingly, carried a huge gallery with him when he teed off at 9.30am, but he was out-scored early on by playing partner David Gossett, the current American amateur champion.

Gossett eagled the 568-yard fifth while Woods, off a perfect drive, pushed his second into rough and had to settle for five.

It was an early indication that his game was not quite as well-oiled as it was from start to finish in the US Open at Pebble Beach last month.

He opened with a 65 there and went on to crush the rest by a major championship record 15 strokes.

Lee Westwood, who won his last two tournaments coming into The Open, rammed in a 25-footer for eagle at the fifth but it had followed a bogey on the third and he remained one under after 10.

Colin Montgomerie and defending champion Paul Lawrie - confident that he has recovered from being hit on the left wrist by a youngster he was teaching on Tuesday - were among the later starters, no doubt praying the wind did not pick up.

It was a relief to them and everyone else, though, that Woods had not been able to throw down the gauntlet in the way he did a month ago.

Lee Trevino, competing in what is almost certainly his last Open, had a terrible time, stumbling to an outward 42 and standing seven over after 13 holes and joint last with Swede Fredrik Jacobson, twice a runner-up in recent weeks on the European circuit.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future