Warwickshire’s Paul Broadhurst had the honour of getting The Open Championship underway by striking the first tee shot amid the morning gloom of Turnberry.
Despite a 3.45am alarm call and a heavy cold he picked up from his young son, Broadhurst, of Atherstone, fired a level par round of 70 to be in contention to make the cut for the weekend.
Broadhurst admits he played a conservative and steady round, which began with bogeys at the third and fourth holes but was saved by birdies at the seventh and 13th.
Now he is hoping a repeat round tomorrow, at the more sensible time of 11.41am, will see him through to the weekend action.
“It was an honour to strike the first ball, although it seemed like we were waiting for 20 minutes before we got underway,” he said.
“I was up really early and when I got to the course there was nothing open. I couldn’t even get a cup of coffee, so it was a case of getting a couple of bananas down me and away we went.
“My cold didn’t cause me too much trouble, although I am full of it at the moment. My whole family have had it and my son has given it to all of us.
“There were all the cameramen and TV cameras there at the first tee and it was quite nerve wracking. We just wanted to get underway. I wanted to get off to a good start and I ripped my first drive down the fairway, which was very pleasing. It was the perfect tee shot and I was able to go on from there.”
Remaining on the fairway was the key for Broadhurst and while he only hit nine of 14 fairways, he was never in too much trouble and he admits he played it safe.
“It was important to avoid the bunkers so I laid back on a lot of the holes and the pin positions meant you couldn’t go for the pins a lot. That is why I had a lot of two putts because I was consistently 20 or 30 feet away,” he said.
“I think I had one chance at the 12th to make a birdie but missed it, but besides that it was pretty steady going.
“That is why you saw older players like Tom Watson do so well because it is not a course where you need a lot of distance off the tee. I only used my driver three times. It is more about position.
“Perhaps the older guys have the experience to get the ball around and make a score on a course like Turnberry.
“I only had a couple of visits to the rough and I was never in any real trouble, and the rough wasn’t as bad as I was lead to believe. Overall, I have to be pleased with that round because it has given me a chance.
“The cut could be around level par or one over, because the scoring has been good so far, so I need another good score, although I don’t think the course will play any easier.
“I have to just go out and try and keep it steady, avoid trouble, and try to make some putts.”
Three consecutive bogeys left Lichfield’s Robert Rock three over par for the championship after his first round.
Rock dropped shots at the 11th, 12th and 13th and will need a big second round to make the cut.