British Open Notebook
Fairfax Native Steve Marino Shoots 67 in First Round of British Open
Thursday, July 16, 2009; 10:59 PM
TURNBERRY, Scotland, July 16 -- Steve Marino had not only never played in the British Open before this week, he had never been to Scotland. He took a chartered flight from the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill., and teed off in Thursday's first round on the Ailsa Course still wondering about his sleep patterns, describing himself as "all screwed up."
That, though, didn't show on the golf course, where Marino began his Open experience with a very solid 3-under-par 67, three shots back of the lead set by Miguel Ángel Jiménez. The Fairfax native overcame a rough stretch on the front nine -- a bogey at the fifth, then a double bogey at the par-3 sixth -- to shoot 31 on the back, a wonderful spot for someone playing true links golf for the first time.
"I'm really proud of myself that I hung in there after that double," said Marino, a University of Virginia graduate.
Marino built his PGA Tour schedule around the likelihood that he would not qualify for the British Open. But he rose high enough in the world rankings that he gained an exemption, and he said there was no way he would skip the event, even though some Americans stay home this week.
"I don't understand why you wouldn't come," Marino said. "Especially me. I've never played over here. I've got to come. I couldn't tell you if I liked it or I didn't like it. But I think it's awesome -- the whole atmosphere, and just the courses are just so cool."
For Woods, Regret
Tiger Woods's overwhelming emotion after beginning his British Open with a 1-over 71: regret.
"I certainly made a few mistakes out there today," Woods said. "Realistically, I probably should have shot about 1- or 2-under par today."
But in a round that included a tossed club or two, not to mention frequent pantomiming of his own leaky swing, he did not. The wind was negligible all day. Woods made the turn in a solid 1-under 34, but made three bogeys on the back side and could not reel in his driver.
"The misses I had were the same shots I was hitting on the range," Woods said. "So I need to go work on that and get it squared away for tomorrow."
Though Woods has traditionally been able to overcome lackluster first rounds and still win majors, that hasn't been true at the British Open. In winning the Open in 2000 and 2005 at St. Andrews and 2006 at Royal Liverpool, Woods opened with 67, 66 and 66, respectively. Thursday, too, the conditions were ripe for such a score; 67 players bested Woods.
"Certainly you could shoot a good round today," Woods said. "You saw a lot of guys at basically 3-, 4-, 5-under par, and that's what you could do out there today. The wind was down. Most of the pins are accessible."
Two of Woods's tough moments came at the 10th, which he three-putted from perhaps 20 feet; the 16th, on which he hit a wayward 5-iron approach, had to drop from the 17th tee and make an excellent up-and-down for bogey; and the 17th, the lone par 5 on the back side, in which he drove the ball into the deep right rough, hit his second into the deep right rough, and could not get up and down for birdie.
"There you have it," Woods said.
Kim's Strange Round
The weird round of the day goes to Anthony Kim, who began his Open thusly: par 4 on the first, quintuple bogey 9 on the second. The 2008 AT&T National champion then played the third through 15th holes 3-under par, made a double bogey at the 16th, and birdied the last for an odd 73.