Jordan Spieth became the first golfer under age 20 to accomplish something quite rare on Thursday.
By Elias Sports Bureau
-- Jordan Spieth, 19, shot a 2-under 69 in the first round of The Open Championship on Thursday at Muirfield. Last year, Spieth, as an amateur, shot a 1-under 69 in the third round of the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. Spieth, who turns 20 next Saturday, became just the third golfer over the last 30 years to record a round below par at both the U.S. and British Opens before turning the age of 20. The two previous teenagers to do so were Ryo Ishikawa (2009 and 2010 British Opens, 2010 and 2011 U.S. Opens) and Matteo Manassero (2009 British Open, 2012 U.S. Open).
-- There were four previous British Open champions who shot below par on Thursday (Mark O’Meara, Tom Lehman, Todd Hamilton and Tiger Woods). However, one former winner was not so fortunate. The 1999 champion, Paul Lawrie, suffered five bogeys, one double bogey and a quadruple-bogey on the par-3 seventh hole to finish at 10 over on the day. This is the fourth time since winning 14 years ago that Lawrie has carded a double-digit above par round at The Open, previously doing so in the first round in 2003 (+10), second round in 2010 (+10) and third round in 2011 (+11). Only two other champions over the last 60 years had even three such rounds within 15 years of their title: Bill Rogers (1981 champion) and Ian Baker-Finch (1991 champion) who famously retired from competitive golf after his third such round in 1997 (a 21-over par 92 in the first round at Royal Troon).
-- 1998 champion Mark O’Meara (age 56) shot a 4-under 67 and 1996 champion Tom Lehman (age 54) shot a 3-under 68 today at Muirfield. That is the third time each golfer shot a round of 3 under or better at The Open since turning 50. O’Meara carded two other 3-unders in 2009 (age 52) and 2010 (53) and Lehman shot a 4-under in 2010 (51) and 3-under in 2011 (52). That is the most such rounds (3-under or better) by anyone in their 50s in the last 60 years of The Open Championship.
-- Steve Stricker is skipping this week’s British Open to celebrate his 20th wedding anniversary, thereby ending two of the longer streaks in golf. Stricker has made 14 consecutive cuts in major tournaments, last missing the cut in the 2009 PGA Championship. The next longest streaks belong to Adam Scott (8) and Jason Dufner (7). Stricker has also made the cut at the British Open the last six years, tied with Zach Johnson for the longest such streak.