Adam Scott

Australia’s Adam Scott carded a sensational six under under par 64 to claim the clubhouse lead mid-way through the first round of the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

The 32 year-old former Players Championship winner from Adelaide fired eight birdies on the 4th, 5th, 7th, 11th, 12th 13th, 15th and 16th and looked to be heading for a share of the Championship 18-hole record before he dropped a shot at the last where he pulled his tee shot into the rough and failed to get up and down from well short of the green.

However, the 64 still tied Tom Lehman’s record for the lowest score ever recorded in eleven Open Championships at Royal Lytham & St Annes and also shaved one shot off the Championship’s previous low first round record set by Scotland’s Bill Longmuir in 1979 and later equalled by England’s Paul Broadhurst in 1996 and Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie in 2001.

“It was like a walk in the park today, and not like what we’ve been experiencing in the practice rounds,” he said. “I’m sure there’s going to be some weather elements thrown at us the next three days so I’m just going to have to knuckle down and handle that.”

“But I’m confident. My ball striking is good and I think I can get round no matter what the conditions are.”

Scott had never shot lower than 68 in any of his 12 previous Open appearances and he needed to go low to top one of the most impressive first round leaderboards ever seen at The Open.

Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, the 1999 champion at Carnoustie, continued his rich vein of recent form with a fine 65 in which he went out in two under par 32 with three successive birdies from the third and then added further birdies at the 14th, 15th and 18th.

“It was a very strange start,” he said. “Probably the strangest start of my career the first six holes. I didn’t hit many good shots but was still three under par.

I chipped in twice and also holed it from off the green,” he added. “Amazing but, obviously, after that I hit some really nice shots and hit the ball in the right places quite a lot.”

2007 Masters champion, Zach Johnson, also carded a 65 while veteran South African, Ernie Els, the champion in 2002, 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell, 2012 Master champion Bubba Watson and 14-time Major champion, Tiger Woods, all opened with three under par rounds of 67.

Ominously for his rivals, Woods’ 67 is the same score as he achieved in the first round on two out of his three previous Open wins, at St Andrews in 2000 and Hoylake in 2006. In 2005, when he claimed his second victory at the Home of Golf, he carded a 66 on the opening day.