A pair of easily forgotten major champions have pinned their names near the top of the Day 1 leaderboard at the Open Championship.
2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson and 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie took advantage of benign early conditions at Lytham to each shoot 65.
Lawrie, the beneficiary of Jean van de Velde’s epic meltdown at the 72nd hole at Carnoustie 13 years ago, had the golf gods shine on him again on Thursday. He chipped in for two of his six birdies at the third and fifth as bookends in a three-birdie stretch.
“It was probably the strangest start of my career, the first six holes – I didn’t really hit many good shots and I was three under,” said the 43-year-old Scot, according to Sky Sports.
After a bogey at the eighth, Lawrie carded three birdies on the tougher back nine to pull within a shot of early leader Adam Scott. The round equaled his best Open Championship round from Day 1 in the ’93 championship.
Zach Johnson made one more birdie and bogey than Lawrie, but produced the same score. He is looking to become the 11th player in PGA Tour history to win a major and the week before it. Lee Trevino is the only player to do the double with the Open Championship, winning the Canadian Open before triumphing at Birkdale in 1971.