Daly takes early lead at St Andrews

Former champion John Daly rolled back the years today with a brilliant start to lead the 139th Open Championship at St Andrews.

Former champion John Daly rolled back the years today with a brilliant start to lead the 139th Open Championship at St Andrews.

Daly, winner here in 1995 after a play-off with Costantino Rocca, made the most of a flat, calm, if rather damp, morning to charge to the turn in just 31.

The flamboyant American - wearing a trademark pair of garish purple and green trousers - was in the sixth group out at 7:36am and made the ideal start with a birdie from 15ft at the first.

Another followed from 12ft at the next and, after a run of three pars, the 44-year-old holed from eight feet on the sixth as well.

Daly, who had missed the cut in eight of his 12 Open appearances since lifting the Claret Jug, then holed from 25ft on the eighth and narrowly missed a massive eagle attempt from short of the driveable par-four ninth as well.

The subsequent birdie was soon followed by two more on the 11th and 12th and, at seven-under-par, Daly was two clear of Germany's Marcel Siem, with Australian John Senden and Yorkshire's Simon Dyson a shot further back.

England's Justin Rose, the most in-form player in the world following two wins in his last three starts on the US Tour, continued where he left off with birdies on the first two holes, while playing partner Tiger Woods had also picked up a shot on the second.

Woods, seeking an unprecedented third Open win at St Andrews, has struggled to rediscover top form since the sex scandal which broke in November last year, but did finish fourth in both the US Masters and US Open this year.

In the group behind, Tom Watson received a far warmer ovation than Woods had, the five-time champion looking to repeat his heroics of last year when he came agonisingly close to a remarkable win at Turnberry at the age of 59.

Watson parred the first but dropped a shot at the second, while Ireland's Padraig Harrington was two-over after duffing his second shot to the first into the burn protecting the front of the green to run up a double-bogey six.

Harrington did birdie the second but promptly gave the shot back at the next to lie joint last along with fellow former champion David Duval.

Daly was unlucky not to extend his lead further, a five-foot birdie putt on the 12th catching the edge of the hole but spinning out.

Senden was now alone in second place on five-under after Siem bogeyed the par-five 14th, while pre-tournament second favourite Rory McIlroy was up into a tie for 10th on three-under after driving the short ninth and holing for an eagle two.

Rose and Woods remained two- and one-under respectively after five, Woods missing from five feet for birdie there, while defending champion Stewart Cink was one-under after eight.

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