Edoardo Molinari: Anyone under par is a contender here – so I'm delighted with start

My Open: If you had offered me a 69 before I had started I would have taken it. This is a very difficult course, but a fair test
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Before I went out I knew that Thomas Bjorn had already posted a round of 65. He is a superb wind player, and I think that maybe he feels that this course owes his something after what happened to him the last time he played here, when he lost a three-shot lead and Ben Curtis won the first major he was in.

I played with Joost Luiten and Charles Howell III and it was still very windy when we set off just before 1pm. The key was to try and keep the ball in play, and I managed to do that nicely. I drove the ball well and I putted pretty nicely too.

Just because I haven't won a tournament this season doesn't mean that I have not been playing well. I have been striking the ball nicely for a few weeks now and sometimes all that you need is for a few putts to drop and then everything just comes together.

My first birdie came at the par-three sixth hole. I hit a seven iron to 15 feet and then holed the putt, and I birdied the eighth where I hit a six iron to 15 feet and holed that too.

On the 10th I hit a huge drive, probably 350 yards, and put my pitch shot five feet from the hole, and that went in for another birdie.

I hit a six iron at the par three 16th and this time holed a putt of around 20 feet for another birdie. The best way to finish a round of golf is with a birdie at the last. I hit a drive and a five iron, probably my best two shots of the day, and held that for another birdie. I also left one or two shots out there, but all in all I am absolutely delighted.

It was a very good steady round of golf. If you had offered me a 69 before I had started I would certainly have taken it. This is a very difficult golf course, although I have to say that it is a fair test.

The greens are excellent and the rough is not too thick, unless you miss the fairway by a long way. If the rough were two feet thick the course would be almost unplayable.

I dropped shots at the seventh and ninth but, in the conditions, that was always going to happen. I am delighted to get round in 69, especially after having two bogeys on the back nine. I missed the green with my second shot at the 12th, and then misjudged the amount of sand in the greenside bunker at the 13th. At the par-five 14th, I pulled my second shot, hit a decent pitch but missed the birdie putt.

I also hit a really good approach to the 15th, but my eight-foot putt just missed. So yes, a 69 is a good day's work. I believe that anybody who finished under par at the end of the week will be there or thereabouts.

Edoardo Molinari is writing exclusively for 'The Independent' throughout The Open

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