Westwood bemoans tough conditions

WORLD number three Lee Westwood pointed to the luck of the draw after he got the worst of the conditions in the first round at St Andrews.

Nevertheless, the Worksop golfer still managed a five-under 67 to stand just four shots behind leader Rory McIlroy.

The 37-year-old thought he would be even further behind after waking up to witness calm conditions in the morning which made scoring easier than the wet, blustery afternoon he had.

“It was definitely tricky out there for me,” he said. “This morning was a piece of cake, you could kick it around in a decent score.

“The course was defenceless and I expected someone to shoot 62 for the first time in a major.

“The difference for the early and late starters was huge. As it does around here the wind blows and we (the afternoon starters) got unlucky with the weather — but that’s the nature of links golf.

“One half gets it good, the other doesn’t, so I have to be reasonably happy with a 67 in those conditions.

“Hopefully we might get a break with the weather tomorrow morning.”

Westwood is playing with a calf injury which ideally requires six to eight weeks to heal but the Englishman was not prepared to miss the Open or next month’s US PGA.

His right leg is causing some discomfort and it started to become an issue late on in his round.

“It’s sore as it gets worse as the day goes on and my ankle swells up, that’s really the problem,” said Westwood.

“I started to feel my calf towards the end of the round but I’ll just have to keep having treatment and hope it doesn’t get any worse.

“I’m off to see the physio. I’ve been there every day and I’m going to get them to do some soft tissue work.”

Louis Oosthuizen put his terrible Open record firmly behind him with an opening round of 65, seven under par. The South African had missed the cut in each of his three previous Open appearances at Troon (2004), Hoylake (2006) and Turnberry last year, and was a total of 23 over par for the six rounds.

But the 27-year-old made amends in style over the Old Course with eight birdies and just one bogey to trail McIlroy by two shots.

“It was definitely a good round, I’m quite happy about everything,” said Oosthuizen, who won his first European Tour title in Andalucia earlier this season.

“I’ve been hitting the wall for a while and just haven’t been making any putts. Today was just different from the putter.

“It was really a matter of getting my confidence up. I came close to winning a few times on the European Tour and I think the win in Malaga early on in the year got my confidence going a bit.

“It’s nice playing St Andrews. It’s holy ground we’re walking on. We play it every year in the Dunhill Links and it’s just a great golf course. I love it.”

Oosthuizen already has experience of battling with McIlroy, having played with the 21-year-old during last year’s Dubai Desert Classic, which the Northern Ireland star went on to win.

Phil Mickelson, who shot a 73, just can’t seem to find a way of mastering the Old Course and was joined by England’s Luke Donald and Angel Cabrera from Argentina.

Jim Furyk, currently ranked fifth, is out of it after a 77 while Rickie Fowler, who has been making a name for himself on the American circuit, could do no better than 79.

With McIlroy stealing the limelight, the remaining Europeans were confined to a supporting role. But Edoardo Molinari’s remarkable rise continues; the recently crowned Scottish Open champion also had to cope with some rain showers and the rising wind but still got round in 69.


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