REUTERS – Kevin Kisner put a mediocre links record aside and surged to the first-round lead with a five-under-par 66 at the British Open at a fiery fast and baked-out Carnoustie on Thursday (July 19).
On a day when some of the game’s less famous outplayed the big names, Kisner earned a one-stroke lead over long-hitting fellow American Tony Finau and South Africans Erik van Rooyen and Zander Lombard.
Players were greeted by the most parched fairways in recent times, a straw-colored hue perhaps even drier than at 2006 Open at Royal Liverpool.
Late starter Tiger Woods, who shot even-par 71, was among those who had to deal with a breeze that finally freshened long after most players were safely tucking into their evening fish and chips.
Defending champion Jordan Spieth was not a model of accuracy, and it finally caught up with the Texan as he dropped four shots in the final four holes for a 72.
Van Rooyen showed few nerves in his first round in a major championship.
Van Rooyen, ranked 144th in the world, led the Irish Open by four strokes heading into the final round two weeks ago, before fading to finish equal fourth.