Rónán MacNamara in Hoylake
Seamus Power was content with an opening round of 71 at the 151st Open Championship in Royal Liverpool as he looks to play all four Open rounds for the first time.
At the time of writing, Power is the leading Irishman in the clubhouse on level-par after mixing two birdies and as many bogeys on a tricky opening morning.
“I played really nicely. One mistake on the greens and then didn’t make any of kind of distance, but was one of those days when I made a couple of nice saves there towards the end on some of the tougher holes.”
The Waterford man made a move into red figures with a. two-putt birdie on the par-5 5th but coughed up two shots on the par-3 6th – failing to get up and down from short left – and the par-4 7th. An extremely solid back nine followed as the wind got up with a birdie on 15 and eight pars, including a scrambling effort on 18.
“All in all pleased, but obviously a little bit disappointed. Felt like I had good chances. I was hitting it very nicely there for a while. But it’s not easy out there. There’s not any easy gimme holes. So overall not too bad.
“I think from what I’ve seen in other majors, you don’t want to be giving yourself too much of a hole to dig out of. It’s tough. You start getting impatient and you make some mistakes.
“So I was able to avoid that and obviously getting in at even there was nice. Good save on 16, and then even 17 those short par-3 take par, and obviously good scramble for par on the last.
“Yeah, I think it’s in a decent spot. Obviously you’d love to be in the red figures. There is always something about that. But I don’t think anyone is going to get too far away from me — or hopefully. Maybe someone.
“But for the most part I think I’m going to be right in there so a lot of good stuff to be done for tomorrow.”
Expectations were low for the two-time PGA winner who has been struggling with a hip injury thus withdrawing from last week’s Genesis Scottish Open after nine holes, but he was swinging freely and walking smoothly across the flat Hoylake turf.
“Yeah, it’s a huge difference even in two days. I’m seeing that on the driving range; my speed is coming way back up out of nowhere. All that is very encouraging. Felt I’d say 90 percent, probably a tiny little soreness here and there, but really doesn’t affect the game at all, so in a really good spot there.”
At level par and five shots shy of clubhouse leaders Christo Lamprecht and local boy Tommy Fleetwood, Power has a foothold in the tournament after surprisingly missing the cut at St Andrews last year.
“I feel like especially in the Open, I know it’s obviously extreme will you you see Paul Lawrie back in the day come from way back, I think the conditions you can get in The Open I think if get in there you will have a chance, so I think it’s added incentive obviously at The Open.
“But last year is disappointing. I grew up — everyone grows up watching The Open. There’s so many cool memories, so not to be there for the weekend was definitely disappointing.
“Obviously you’re not aiming just to make that, but first it’s the step. We’ll see if we can get something good tomorrow and for the weekend.”