The Norman Transcript

Sports

July 19, 2013

Zach Johnson handling the brown links of Muirfield

GULLANE, Scotland — A blue sky and a gentle breeze usually means ripe scoring conditions at the British Open. Just not on the brown links of Muirfield.

Zach Johnson handled it better than anyone Thursday. Helped along by a 45-foot eagle putt and only one bogey despite trouble lurking around every pot bunker, Johnson had a 5-under 66 for a one-shot lead, the first time he’s been atop the leaderboard at any major since he rallied to win the Masters six years ago.

Tiger Woods more than survived the late end of the draw, after the sun had thoroughly baked out the crispy greens and allowed only eight of the 20 rounds under par. He knocked one putt clear off the green, but 10 one-putts — most of them for pars — carried him to a 69, a good start in his bid to end his five-year drought in the majors.

“The golf course progressively got more dried out and more difficult as we played,” Woods said. “And I’m very pleased to shoot anything even par or better.”

And for all the talk about Muirfield’s men-only membership, at least the club doesn’t discriminate against age.

Mark O’Meara, the 56-year-old who won his claret jug in 1998 at Royal Birkdale, shot a 67 and nearly tied Johnson for the lead until his 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th took a hard spin out of the cup. Another former champion, 54-year-old Tom Lehman, opened with a 68.

It was an eclectic group who broke par, from major champions to players making their British Open debut. What they all had in common was finding a way to get through a firm, fast and frightening test at Muirfield that figures to get even harder if the Royal & Ancient doesn’t put some water on the links course.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Clash tennis Timberwolves win girls’ Clash before boys’ dual ends in a draw

    And Crosstown Clash tennis dominance goes too … Norman North, sort of....

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Much riding on Red River rivalry series

    Coach Patty Gasso said before last weekend’s road trip to Baylor that the Big 12 championship would run through Waco. The Sooners took care of that, taking two of three from the Bears to take control of the title race....

    April 17, 2014

  • Sooners hoping to keep momentum of marathon victory

    Practice was brief Wednesday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Rest was more important than work after what Oklahoma had gone through the previous night....

    April 17, 2014

  • Pistons Thunder Basketball Thunder go all out against Pistons

    OKLAHOMA CITY —  Heading into the final game of the regular season, Oklahoma City coach didn't want to hear anything about a night off. With his team riding a two-game losing streak and fighting for playoff positioning, he treated it like a playoff game.
     

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Jags’ Fuller signs with Oklahoma Christian

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Tripp Fuller was looking for a school that fit him. One where the Westmoore senior would feel at home at....

    April 17, 2014

  • North nearer to filling coaching vacancies

    A host of coaching positions in Norman are open for next year....

    April 17, 2014

  • Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team

    MILWAUKEE — Bucks owner Herb Kohl has reached a deal to sell the franchise to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for about $550 million....

    April 17, 2014

  • Hopes high for Negro League stadium comeback

    PATERSON, N.J. — The light touch of a paint roller is enough to dislodge a chunk of plaster from the crumbling walls of Hinchliffe Stadium. Though silent for decades, the former home of several Negro League teams is getting another chance ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Ryu takes early lead in LPGA LOTTE

    KAPOLEI, Hawaii — So Yeon Ryu shot a 4-under 68 on Wednesday to take the lead halfway through a windy first round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship. Japan’s Ayako Uehara was one stroke back....

    April 17, 2014

  • Captain Tom teeing it up at RBC Heritage

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Tom Watson wants to take a closer look at American prospects for the Ryder Cup, so the U.S. captain is playing in the RBC Heritage this week....

    April 17, 2014

Facebook