James Driscoll could not have asked for a better way to start — or finish — the first round of the British Open. It’s what happened in between on Thursday that made it likely he would be catching an early flight back to New England.
In the first group off the first tee at 6:30 a.m., the Boston native who honed his skills at Charles River Country Club sank a 50-foot birdie putt on the 205-yard par-3 to get to an immediate 1-under at Royal Lytham & St Annes. But double-bogeys on Nos. 3 and 9 that book-ended three bogeys, a par, and a triple on the par-5 seventh put him at 9-over at the turn, and that was just more than a 3-under 33 on the back nine could handle — even with an eagle-2 at the 453-yard 17th.
“I was just fighting it,” Driscoll told Golfweek after finishing his round in a tie for 143rd at 6-over — just three shots from DFL. “Just kept double-crossing, trying to hit cuts, but I hit pull hooks.”
As Golfweek noted, at least Driscoll and playing partners Garth Mulroy and Barry Lane were able to make quick work of their round. The threesome made it around the course in four hours and 30 minutes — precisely as the Royal & Ancients requested of the players.
“You don’t want to be the first group out and fall behind,” said Driscoll, who noted that officials made sure the trio was on time. “We were told we were a minute over early, but it was never an issue after that.”
As for another notable New Englander in the field this week, Keegan Bradley notched his own eagle on the par-5 seventh. Unfortunately, the reigning PGA champ carded two double-bogeys and two bogeys to go with three birdies and he’ll head into Friday’s second round right on the projected cut line of 1-over.
Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminerWHAT'S YOUR REACTION?