Debutant Green puts on battling display

Paul Lakatos|Asian Tour via Getty Images
Gavin Green of Malaysia pictured during the opening round of the 147th Open Championship

Gavin Green has had a rollercoaster first round in the 147th Open Championship, from Carnoustie, finishing with a one-over par 72.

He made a solid par at the first, two-putting from 35 feet before dropping a shot at the second.

Despite this, he took an aggressive strategy on the short par four 3rd, hitting driver where most of the field laid up from the bunkers with a 7 or 8-iron.

He pushed his tee shot right but managed to get up and down to save par and on the next found the right half of the fairway before hitting it close and making birdie.

His up-and down front nine read par, bogey, par, birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey, birdie, par. This left him at level par for the front nine. On the parched Angus fairways his average driving distance on the outward half was 354 yards which, is measured over the 6th and 10th holes and at the time he finished his round, put him third in the driving distance stats.

“I hit it good. The bogeys were just bad breaks. I didn’t stay short enough of the pot bunkers but I was learning. My ball striking was good. Three of my birdies were all tap-ins. A couple of times I hit it into the bunkers and had to chip it out but overall, a one-over to start my first Major, I’ll take it,” said Green, who marked his card with five birdies and six bogeys to trail by six shots at the world’s oldest Major championship

Gavin’s 11:15 tee time meant he played in favourable conditions, dry, warm and with very little breeze. He was still inconsistent on the inward half, having back-to-back birdies (13th and 14th) outweighed by three dropped shots at 12, 17 and 18.

“I was just cruising out there. But towards the end, I just hit a couple of bad shots at the wrong time. I wasn’t nervous out there. I was calm and cool so it’s fine. We will keep to the same game plan tomorrow and just be careful of the bunkers which cost me two shots today.

“It wasn’t that tough coming down the stretch I think. I just hit shots that I shouldn’t hit. It was a good save for bogey on 17,” added Green.

Carnoustie’s brutally tough finish claimed another victim and bogies at the last two holes will leave a bitter taste in the mouth. At one over par 72 he is by no means out of things but with a late tee time on Friday – he is out in the very last group at 4:16pm – and rain forecast, he’ll need a good round to guarantee being here at the weekend.