Hello to all from on unseasonably quiet day at The Renaissance in North Berwick, Scotland, after the first round of the Scottish Open.
The golf course, as I said in my preview, is gettable. A 7-under par 64 was the best of the day by England’s Jack Senior, a former Mena Tour player currently No. 353 in world rankings and No. 127 in the Race to Dubai standings.
I suggest the greens are slower than they look and so many players left the ball short of the hole with the flat stick, so, in my opinion, I believe scores will improve all week.
Here is a look at my players from Thursday’s opening round:
Rory McIlroy (-1/T73rd): I was with Rory on the range and we were one of the last ones to leave. Rory had a few poor drives, which is not his style and makes him somewhat uncomfortable throughout his all round game. An average putting round with a decent par saving putt on the 18th green has set Rory up for a good second round. I am confident that will be an improvement on Round 1.
Thomas Pieters (-3/T13th): Well played to Thomas. Another bogey-free round. Surely a win from a player with so much talent is not far away. Again he is struggling on the greens and 35 putts in Round 1 sums that up.
Danny Willett (+1/T96th): As we said, Danny is still adjusting to his recent operations. He has fast-tracked his recovery and we all know that nature cannot be rushed.
Jazz Janewattenanond (+4): Jazz was four over after four holes. Not the ideal start for a tournament but he settled well and is still four over par at the end of the round.
Sean Crocker (+1/T114th): Following Sean’s strong week at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, his first round this week has disappointed. It was a very average performance from Sean and we expect much better for tomorrow.
Ian Poulter (-5/T4th): DP World Ambassador Ian scored a lovely 5-under and is lurking. A big couple of weeks will give him the platform to build on his Ryder Cup potential and participation.
Padraig Harrington (-4/T13th): An impressive round from the Ryder Cup Captain. I told you all he was in decent form and worth both watching and following.
Graeme McDowell (+2/T131st): Graeme is having a tough season and will be honest to say he should and needs to be playing so much better at this time of the year.
Henrik Stenson (+1/T113th): Henrik had a decent round going and was two-under with just four holes to play. However, a decent performance was spoilt by three dropped shots over the last four holes.
Branden Grace (-2/T45th): I always like it when a player comes off the golf course and says he played poorly. Branden shot a 69 and even dropped a shot on his last hole.
Victor Perez (-2/T45th): One of the most underrated player on the European Tour. A steady round of 69 sets him up nicely for a big week and potentially Ryder Cup qualification.
Two of my coaching partner Mike Walker’s players were also in action:
Matt Fitzpatrick (-5/T4th): An excellent opening round of 66. Matt looks fresh and energised after a week off last week. It could be a big week for him.
Adri Arnaus (-3/T13th): A solid 68 saw Adri, the Dubai resident, continue his consistent form. Keep it going Adri.
Additionally, a big well done to another Dubai resident Adrian Otaegui with his first-round 68. He seems to be in the mix every week these days. Plenty of drama and action will be seen over the next three days.