Watson the talk of Turnberry

Miguel Angel Jimenez equalled the lowest first round in Open Championship history with a six-under-par 64 today - but Tom Watson was still the talk of Turnberry.

Two months short of his 60th birthday the five-time Open champion made a dream start to what he insists is not simply a trip down memory lane this week.



After his superb 65 Watson, set to be the oldest player ever to lead a major until Jimenez two-putted the long 17th and then made a 60-footer for another birdie on the two holes, declared: "I feel that I'm playing well enough to win. I feel inspired playing here."



The oldest man in the 156-strong field says he has never seen anything more stunning in golf than Tiger Woods winning the 2000 US Open by 15 shots.



But if he does go on to equal Harry Vardon's record six victories on Sunday it will surely take the place of that. Greg Norman coming close to the Claret Jug at 53 last year has nothing on this.



"It would be amazing," said Watson, who underwent hip replacement surgery last October and at the Masters in April - his last major round - collapsed to an 83.



That was on the beast that is now Augusta National, though. This was round a Turnberry course that could not have been more docile.



Even though he agreed "she was defenceless", nothing should detract from what Watson achieved. Woods, after all, managed only a one over par 71 and Norman slumped to a 77.



Padraig Harrington, meanwhile, began his bid for the first Open hat-trick since Peter Thomson in 1956 with a 69 - a big step in the right direction after five successive missed cuts on the European and American tours.



Norman was back on the links where he won in 1986, but Watson's famous "Duel in the Sun" with Jack Nicklaus is now 32 years ago.



He finished with back-to-back 65s that week and had another to be the halfway leader the last time the Open was staged there 15 years ago.



With the 2003 British Senior Open win over the lay-out as well nobody knows it better and he noted: "There are some certain shots out here that the kids are unfamiliar with.



"Playing the practice rounds I felt very good about the way I was hitting the ball.



"And because links golf is not played very much the older guys have an advantage. We kind of get a feel for it and that feel is worth its weight in gold."



Just prior to the championship Watson had received a "good luck" text from Nicklaus's wife Barbara and he stated: "There's something slightly spiritual about today - and the serenity of it was pretty neat."



Playing partner Sergio Garcia, who shot a level par 70, called Watson's display "awesome" and needless to say 16-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero, the third member of the group and the youngest-ever British amateur champion, was blown away by it too.



"I wish I had his putting stroke," said Watson. He knows that, as in 1994 when he fell back to 11th, it is the club most likely to let him down.



Not in the opening round, though. After an eight-footer went in on the first he holed from 20 feet at the third, 12 on the 10th and then eight again on the 12th and 17th.



Watson's 65 was matching by 2003 champion Ben Curtis.



The American, 396th in the world six years ago when he became the first debutant to take the title since Watson at Carnoustie in 1975, now stands 27th in the rankings and four birdies in the last six holes made him the second player to shoot 65.



Paul Casey, Lee Westwood, David Howell and Graeme McDowell had hopes of at least matching that after flying starts, but all four finished with 68s.



The five-strong group on four under, meanwhile, included Australian John Senden.



A week ago Senden was seventh reserve for the event and it was only on arriving from Texas on Tuesday that Jeev Milkha Singh's side muscle injury let him in.



As for Colin Montgomerie and Sandy Lyle, still hitting the headlines after Lyle reignited the row over his fellow Scot's "wrong drop" in Indonesia four years ago, they shot 75 and 71 respectively.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
news
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
Brendan Rodgers looks on from the touchline
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick