Pros advice

David Howell gets 143rd Open Championship under way at Hoylake

Englishman David Howell got the 143rd Open Championship under way this morning (Thursday) under a flood of bright sunshine at Hoylake.

The 39-year-old was given the honour of hitting the first tee shot at 6.25am in calm conditions and found the right rough to lay up short on the green, resulting in a bogey five.

Former Open champion David Duval, who won at Lytham in 2001, also missed the fairway on the opposite side – hacking out 40 yards before forcing the ball onto the green and holing his putt for par.

Robert Karlsson of Sweden managed to split the fairway with his tee shot before two-putting from 15 feet.

Chris Wood, another Englishman out onto the field early, was the first player to make any sort of impact with a birdie at the opening 458-yard hole.

Clock watching

Howell pulled back his dropped shot with a monster putt for birdie across the third green, but then on the fourth tee the opening group received a polite warning due them already being a minute off the required pace, although there was no move to put them on the clock at that early stage.

The warning seemed not to bother Howell, who went on to birdie the hole and move into the lead on one under after Wood only managed a bogey on his second.

The situation around the third green and fourth tee, in claustrophobically-close quarters to each other, was not helped by the constant interruptions emanating from a public address system in the tented village alongside the third fairway – which was quickly dealt with by one of the tournament referees.

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