Lane admits to Open nerves

Veteran Barry Lane admitted to first-tee nerves after having the honour of starting the Open at Royal Lytham.

Veteran Barry Lane admitted to first-tee nerves after having the honour of starting the Open at Royal Lytham.

The 52-year-old is playing in his 15th championship but he had never been first man out before.

He began badly with a bogey on the opening par three, regaining that shot with a birdie at the second but then double-bogeying the next on his way to a three-over 73.

And although he described himself as a ’morning person’ he felt the 4am alarm call was probably just a little too early.

“It is a great privilege and to hit the first tee shot was very nice – it is something to tell your grandkids,” he said.

“I was actually a little bit nervous, there was a lot of people here at 6.30am which was fantastic, and I just wanted to hit the green.

“I’ve got up at 4am to catch flights but I’ve never got up at 4am to play golf.

“We were a bit jet-lagged from last week (having flown in from the US Senior Open) anyway so it wasn’t too bad.

“Our flight was delayed from Detroit on Sunday night so we had 12 hours in the airport and got to London about midnight on Monday, hired a car and drove up.

“Yesterday I walked around the course like a zombie but that’s the life of a golfer – it sounds very glamorous but sometimes it’s not.

“I’ll be on the range this afternoon – but I think I’ll be having a sleep first!”

Playing partner James Driscoll made the first birdie of the day at the first and also registered the first eagle, holing his 152-yard nine-iron approach to the 17th but also had an eight at the par-five seventh after twice finding bunkers and having to chip out sideways.

“The sand is muddy so the ball sits down and you can’t do anything with it,” said the American, who having gone out in 43 picked up three strokes on the back nine without dropping any, helped by the eagle.

“If you go in any of the fairway bunkers you are in trouble – most of them you are chipping out.”

The group, which also included South Africa’s Garth Mulroy, went round in four hours 20 minutes, 10 minutes inside the time stipulated by championship organisers the R&A this week.

“You don’t want to be the first group out and fall behind on the clock,” added the 34-year-old.

“We fell a minute over on the fourth and we were told to pick it up but it wasn’t an issue after that.”

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