BBC Sport golf


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 05:15 GMT, Thursday, 14 July 2011 06:15 UK

Open day one as it happened


To get involved use Twitter (via hashtag #BBCgolf ) or text us via 81111 with GOLF before your message. (Not all contributions can be used. Messages will be charged at your standard operator rate.)

By Ben Dirs leaderboard (official site)

2007: Ryan Palmer bogeys 16 to drop back to two under, and that seems like a good place to wrap things up. Of players out on the course, Australia's Kurt Barnes and Jeff Overton are two under through 17, Jung-Gong Hwan of Korea is two under through 15. If you fancy, you can continue to follow our live leaderboard, but I will see you again the same time tomorrow. Peace out.

2007: Webb Simpson is in with a 66 - birdies at 17 and 18, in with a 31, he's tied for third. Ricky Barnes, first alternate, is in with a very commendable 68 - all that hanging around might pay off. Lots of Americans near the top of the leaderboard - Jeff Overton is two under through 17...

2001: England's Robert 'Redford' Rock has birdied 17 to get under par, while Tom Lehman, 1996 champion, is level par through 14. Some illustrious players to shoot big today: two-time Masters winner Bernhard Langer (75), 1998 champion Mark O'Meara (76), two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen (76), 2004 champion Todd Hamilton, 2003 champion (at Royal St George's) Ben Curtis (77), 2001 champion David Duval (78).

1953: Webb Simpson of the United States, on Open debut, has birdied 10, 12 and 17 to get to three under par. You might not have heard of Simpson, but he's had two seconds on the PGA Tour this season. Simpson, 25, had a spot of bad luck in New Orelans earlier this season: standing over a 12-inch putt on the 15th green, Simpson was the victim of a gust of wind that caused his ball to move a quarter of an inch. Because he had addressed it, he called a penalty shot on himself, and instead of winning the tournament by a stroke for his maiden victory, he lost it in a play-off to Bubba Watson. Bit silly really.

Co-leader Tom Lewis: "I didn't realise I'd made birdies from 14 to 17, when you're in the zone you don't really notice. [Tom Watson] was a great man to be with, really helpful. He said some really nice things in the recorder's hut and I was thrilled to be in his presence. You couldn't play with a more generous man."

1941: Ryan Palmer for birdie at 14 and he drains it to move to three under, fellow American Justin Leonard, champion in 1997, has just dropped a shot at 15 to fall back to -1.

1935: Still a few players out and about at Royal St George's, with a whole gaggle of players on two under, including Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed and first alternate Ricky Barnes. US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III is one under through 17, as is fellow American and former Ryder Cupper JB Holmes.

1926: Tom Watson hangs back as his threesome approach the 18th green, the old man allowing the 20-year-old Tom Lewis the spotlight. Cute chip from Stenson, he should get down in par from there, and Lewis leaves himself four or five feet. Old Tom Watson makes his par putt for a two-over-par round of 72, a round that could have been far better. Lewis, displaying nerves of steel, pops in his par putt for a round of 65, which ties the lowest ever by an amateur in a major. Stenson sneaks his in for a round of 71, which is a welcome return to form for the Swede, but it's all about young Lewis - you have to say that's magnificent...

1918: Last alternate Ricky Barnes is making the most of his opportunity, he's two under through 15. Oosthuizen for birdie at 18... misses short and left, he's in with a 72. Mickelson saves par at the last, big clutch putt that to finish level par, and Kaymer is in with a par for a round of 68. Watson yanks his approach long and left at 18, Lewis, with a nine iron, pushes his right. The long, lithe Stenson follows Lewis down the hillock, the suspicion was he was playing out of a divot.

1910: Stricker, the world number five, is in with a 69 - three birdies, two bogeys on his card. Magnificent salmon sky over Sandwich as the sun descends... Mickelson hooks his approach at 18 short and left out of the rough, the four-time major winner is level par. Lewis slaps his tee shot down the middle at 18 and namesake Tom Watson follows him down.

1904: Thanks Orlo, Dirs back in the seat. Here's amateur Tom Lewis - BOOM! The 20-year-old from Welwyn rolls in a 20-footer to tie for the lead. Thing is, he doesn't even look 20, he looks about 14. Tom Watson horseshoes a three-footer after an arrow-like approach and has to settle for par at 17. Been his achilles heel for many a year now. Schwartzel for three at the last... doesn't come back far enough and that's a round of 71 for the Masters champion. Westwood with a 15-footer to get back to level par, but he has to settle for a round of 71 - that'll do though, he looked out of sorts early on and recovered well.

Graeme McDowell: "I'm very happy after a horror start. I made a bad swing off the first - you never want to double bogey the first. I hung tough though, and the wind subsided and thankfully I made a good score. It's been an amazing 12 months, but I wasn't playing my best in the months leading to the US Open. And playing the Open was a big weight off my mind. It was good to see Darren playing well. The afternoon starters really did have the best conditions of the day. Nice to get a bit of luck.

By Mark Orlovac

1854: Andersson Hed slipped back with bogeys at 12 and 14 but has got one back with a long birdie putt at 15 - he's back to two under. Right, that's my little stint over with, the lovely Ben Dirs is back to take you home...

Mark James
BBC co-commentator Mark James on Tom Lewis: "He has that innocent look of an assassin."

1847: What. A. Story. Lewis sinks that putt on 16 and he's flying on four under. Incredible. He is showing absolutely no signs of nerves, he looks as if he is hacking around his local municipal. Westwood misses that birdie chance and has to settle for a par, he remains on one over.

OwenMcIntyre on Twitter: "This Tom Lewis lad is doing really well! I'm impressed at how he's keeping his cool."

1842: Westwood seems to be getting some of his mojo back and that is a fine iron shot into the 17th green. Birdie chance. Lewis at the par-three 16th - and that is a superb tee shot. Probably a five-footer for birdie. McDowell at the last, and he ends with a birdie for a two-under 68. That's a nice position to be in.

1840: And Lewis adds another birdie at the 15th, he's now two strokes behind Bjorn. Brilliant stuff. This is a day that he will not forget in a hurry.

1835: England's Andrew Johnston is storming up the leaderboard, birdies at six, seven and eight puts him on two under. Australia's Adam Scott closes with a birdie and is on one under for the day. Not bad. Scott has Steve Williams on his bag this week. If you don't know, Williams normally caddies for some bloke called Tiger Woods. Never heard of him. Justin Rose ends with another par for a two-over 72.

1831: A quick update on that lad Tom Lewis, he bogeyed 13 but returned to two under with a four at the 14th. Did you know that Lewis won the British Boys title at Royal St George's in 2009? No, either did I until about 30 minutes ago.

1827: They are all at it, McDowell drains that birdie putt on 17 and he's moved to one under. Thought I'd mention a nice line from Peter Alliss on BBC Two regarding Bubba Watson: "More moving parts than a Rolex in his swing."

1824: Right then, Westwood on 15. He's got a 20-footer for birdie... and he's nailed it. That's two in a row and he's on one over. Go on Lee, one more before the close. Just for me. Now here's Harrington at the last and he settles for a par which gives him a three over 73.

1820: GMac with his approach to 17, it's very still out there now - the flag is hardly moving, and that's a peach. The ball is pin high and that is a birdie chance.

KillieMad on Twitter: "Watching Lucas Glover I wondered apart from GMac's scruffy number, who was last player to win a major sporting a beard? Tom Morris?"
Answers on a postcard please people...

1814: Westy looks to be in trouble at 15, placing his ball in the long stuff after pushing his drive right. But that's a good recovery, and he's on the dancefloor. That should be a comfortable par with an outside chance of a birdie.

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke on BBC Two: "We got a huge break with the weather there today and all in all I'm very pleased with 68, a good start. If you get a good draw in the Open it makes a massive difference. Of course the course plays very differently with the weather."

1808: Westwood birdies 14, and he moves back to +2. Tell you what, if he can grab another before the end and it will not be a disastrous opening round for him. Hold on, here's 2009 US Open champion Lucas Glover, who has had a storming end to his round. The 31-year-old birdies the final three holes and is in the clubhouse on -4 after a 66.

MainstreamMatt on Twitter: "Well done Darren Clarke! Great to see you back amongst it at the majors."

1758: Evening all, London calling. I'm just stepping in while our Benjamin has a little break up in Salford. And I take over just as Darren Clarke cards a fourth straight par for an opening 68. He's on two under. By the way, if you manually refresh this page for me, everything will be as it should be. Lovely.

By Ben Dirs

1753: Rose with a six-foot par putt at 15... right in the centre, the Englishman stays two over. Australia's Adam Scott rolls in his five-footer for a fighting bogey, he's level par. Scott's fellow Aussie Jason Day is two over after 14, managing to hold it together. The worry is, though, if most of the players are losing the armwrestle with Royal St George's when there is barely a breath of wind, what's it going to be like when the place is being smashed up at the weekend, as per the forecast? We shall see...

1748: Lewis rolls in his saver at 12 to stay two under before playing partner Tom Watson jabs his par putt home - he stays +1. The third man in that group is Henrik Stenson, who has gone tumbling down the rankings of late, but is holding it together on +1.

1745: Edoardo Molinari is in with a 69, Bubba goes back to one under with a monster putt at 14. Westwood needs this - birdie attempt at 13... horseshoes out... McDowell saves par at 14 and stays level par. Tom Lewis had eight single putts on the first eight greens, which is pretty remarkable, particularly when you consider he's doing it for free. Mickelson ankle deep in cabbage at 13 and he tugs his approach left of the green.

1738: Shot gone for amateur Lewis at 11, he's now two under. Westwood into the par-four 13th and that's a pretty decent effort into the heart of the green. Stricker gets inside his playing partner, to within a few feet. No-one really taking huge advantage of the benign conditions out there at the moment, which they might regret when the Royal St George's wind is trying to rip their heads off come Saturday morning.

1732: Anderssen Hed of Sweden just misses his birdie putt at 10 and remains three under. Mickelson finds the heart of the green with his second at 12 before Justin Rose misses his close-range par attempt by miles at 14... he makes his bogey putt coming back, slips to two over.

1726: Defending champion Oosthuizen with a 15-footer at 11... makes it! Needed that, back to +3. Kaymer follows Oosthuizen in to get back to one under. Mickelson misses an open goal, he stays level par.

1720: Schwartzel drains his testing bogey putt at 11, the South African drops to one over. Anderssen Hed drains a monster at nine and is out in 32. McDowell with a down-hiller at 13 for birdie... straight down the pipe, good recovery job after a double-bogey at the first, back to level par. Jason Day back to two over after a 20-footer at 14 for back-to-back birdies. Bubba lets one go at 13 and is back level.

The sun is out
1714: Bit of sun out there now and I'm told we now have the best scoring conditions of the day. Bubba, still one under through 12, with a nine iron at 13, and that's pretty ordinary. Stanley leaves his par putt left at 18, drops back to -2. Clarke at 15, a 15-footer for birdie... looked in all the way before scooting off right at the death. Another one gone for Westwood at 11, he yo-yos back down to +3.

1709: Two-time champion Padraig Harrington is two over after 12 - four bogeys going out, he's settled the ship coming back. Darren Clarke striding the 15th fairway - not bad, another kick and it would have been perfect. Kurt Barnes of Australia just hoved into view as Justin Leonard was putting, to sharp intakes of breath from everyone in the office: giant pink and black dogtooth trousers, he looks like a 1970s, New York pimp. Kyle Stanley with a fine bunker escape at 18, every chance of crading a 67.

1701: Tom Lewis is aggressive with his birdie effort at nine, he's got a tester coming back for par. Watson drains his, though, he's out in level-par 35. Just been told Tom Lewis is named after his playing partner - and his brother is called Jack. Lewis pops that par putt in and struts straight from the green - he's got some swagger, this lad, out in 32. Chad Campbell cards a 69, McDowell bends in a longun at 12 to get to one over.

1656: Tom Lewis is ripping the place up - the 20-year-old sticks his approach to within 10 feet at nine. Westwood makes one disappear at 10 to get back to +2 before Schwartzel climbs back to even par with a lollipop from close range. Bubba for birdie at 12... up the hump, left-to-right, just short, he stays one under...

1652: Mickelson is out in level par. Some talk of some shabby weather this weekend, which Mickelson claims to revel in. Sandy Lyle - winner at Sandwich in 1985 - is one over through 16. Clarke for birdie at 14 - BOOM! Darren moves to -2. Schwartzel with a dreamy iron into 10th, he should pop that in for birdie. Westwood very nearly trumps him...

1649: Only 25 men under par as I write, it's not easy out there. Peter Whiteford of Scotland cards a level-par 70, shame about the bogey at the last. Kyle Stanley very nearly moves to four under par but his birdie putt at 17 just misses left. Oosthuizen leaves his birdie putt low at nine, the defending champion is three over. Kaymer drains a four-footer to stay level.

1642: Westwood struggling for par at nine... leaves it left, he's out in +3 and looking a little bit out of sorts. Lewis bends in his birdie effort at the par-four eighth to get to three under. Watson gets to play with the kids nowadays - he kicked off with Matteo Manassero two years ago - which might explain why he's dressed as a Werther's Original. I believe he made par at the eighth to stay level par.

1638: Stanley made that littlun at 16 to move to three under and two off the lead. Tom Lewis right into the guts of the green at eight - apologies, I said he's played 17 earlier. He hasn't, he's only played seven, and is two under. From the same town as the great Nick Faldo, of course, and last month he won the St Andrews Links Trophy.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Gareth in Belfast via text 81111: "My mate Chris knows nothing about golf - he keeps emailing tips when he should be working. How he manages to hold down a job is a mystery to me."

1630: Kyle Stanley stiffs his tee shot at 16 to within a few feet of the hole, he's got that to move to three under. Westwood with a wild tee shot at nine... McDowell on 10 and he's safely on in two. Amateur Tom Lewis is one under through 17 - "they'll be jumping up and down in Welwyn Garden City," says Ken Brown on the TV. Justin Rose on tee at 11 and he's safely on in one - he's parred every hole so far. Kaymer of Germany, for birdie at eight, he stays level. McDowell's birdie effort at 10 lips out...

1621: Here's Westwood again with a birdie putt at eight... big left-to-righter and that's not a bad effort from the front of the green, he'll tap in for par. Justin Leonard's par putt lips out at four, he drops back to two under. Stricker's birdie effort at eight runs out of steam, he stays level, Masters champion Schwartzel makes his saver to stay level par.

1618: Westwood, of course, made birdie at seven to get back to +2, let's hope he can push on from there. That said, were he to finish on two over, that would be no kind of disaster. Peter Whiteford of Scotland is putting a solid round together, he's one under through 16.

1613: Tremendous approach from Andersson Hed of Sweden at five and he taps in to get to two under. The last threesome on the tee at one - here's little-known American Jason Knutzon, a regular on the Asian Tour, giving it some humpty. England's Andrew Jonhston follows him down there... McDowell tugs his eight-footer for birdie at nine to stay two over. Mickelson's eagle putt at seven stays short but he gets back to level.

1607: Someone just texted in to call me "a chump" for writing "four" instead of "fore". People... I just don't like people... Westwood saves par with a great up-and-down at seven, but remains three over par. McDowell with his second into the ninth from 140 yards... nine iron - they were going with six irons earlier - and it's all over the flag. Chad Campbell lets one go at 15 to drop back to two under.

1600: Adam Scott with the old broomstick and he makes birdie at nine for two under overall. Westwood hits the pin with his third at seven, a scuttling chip and run, and he should save par. Better scoring conditions now at Royal St George's, the wind has subsided, and Justin Rose is doing a Faldo, the Englishman out in nine straight pars.

1558: McDowell in some bother at eight but that's a sweet escape to within eight feet or so. Westwood into the seventh and he's not feeling it today - "four right!" and he clatters his approach into the gallery. Chad Campbell makes birdie at 14 to jump into a tie for third on two under. Bubba squeezes in his par effort at eight to stay one under and Justin Leonard, winner in 1997, kicks off with three straight birdies.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Steve, Lough Erne, via text 81111: "My Local golf pro Shooter McDonnelly reckons Cink is the man. Problem is, Shooter plays golf like an 18 handicapper, talks a lot of tripe and is usually wrong."

1548: Westwood with a nervy little poke at six, he stays +3. Schwartzel drops to one over after missing a short one. Here's Bubba Watson into the eighth and it's short and right. Bubba made a bit of a plum of himself a couple of weeks back at the French Open, dismissing the Eiffel Tower as "that big tower" and the Arc de Triomphe as "an arch in the middle of the road". Mnd you, nothing's changed, maybe it was one of Bubba's ancestors who named the White House.

1543: Westwood on the 179-yard sixth... creamy effort, very makeable putt for birdie. Oosthuizen for birdie at five but he doesn't hit it - stays one over. Big, throaty roar as Clarke drains a longun at 10 to get to one under, great downhill saver from Justin Rose at eight, he's off with eight pars in a row.

1540: Many thanks Sam Lyon, Ben Dirs back in the seat. Just popped outside and I can confirm there are people sunbathing in Salford. They'll be eating ice creams next. Naughty little chip from McDowell at seven and that's a two birdies on the spin for the man from Portrush, he's back to one over. Bubba Watson, not playing in dungarees today (more's the pity), leaves his birdie putt left and stays -1. Should have been better, he was safely on in two.

By Sam Lyon

1537: So far we have 25 men under par at Royal St George's - and top of the pile is the young pair Thomas Bjorn (-5) and Miguel Angel Jimenez (-4). The new breed *cough*. Plenty struggling today, though, and already the pre-tournament favourites are finding life stickier than Sammy the Stick Insect. Back in the chair now to talk you through their progress for a while again, is Ben Dirs...

1531: Great Scott! Well, almost. Still Pretty Good Scott, though, as Aussie Adam misses a second birdie chance at seven to stay one under. Kyle Stanley is on the charge proper, though, with a birdie at 12 to go two under. I think I'm right in saying a few of our experts tipped an unexpected win from an American, but as I can't remember who they are I'll claim I did it. But only if I'm right come Sunday evening, obviously. Talking of relatively unknown Americans *cough* Tom Watson sinks a short one to stay one under - though there is no such luck for Lee Westwood who has just bagged the seven-year-old boy's dream, the bogey hat-trick. The Englishman is three over through five.

1525: South African Charl Schwartzel, winner of this year's Masters, pulls up short at five - but he's in better shape than England's Lee Westwood who hacks at the grass after hoiking his approach to the greenside rough on the left. Staring down the barrel of another dropped shot the Worksop man. Over on seven, compatriot Justin Rose pushes a birdie chance left and he'll have a tiddle for par.

Peter via text: "RE: 1515 - I've got 25 pence on Harrington. Still a risky bet."

1521: Having dropped shots at one and five, Graeme McDowell finally finds some magic with his approach at six and he draws to within a few feet for a fine birdie chance. Three over at present, McDowell is bidding to become the first Northern Irishman to win two majors, so I'm told... and he sinks a short putt well. Nice. Oof - Martin Kaymer has almost just gone and sunk a brutal putt from the back of the green on four, his effort drifting a lot further past than he deserved, while Louis Oosthuizen attempts to limit the damage with a decent chip back on from the greenside rough... and he holes out well. Nice recovery, that. Bubba Watson, bidding to make the cut at the Open for the first time in his career - though he's only played it twice before - is still going nicely with a par at six to stay one under. Noh Sueng-Kul of Korea, meanwhile, finishes off his round one under. Impressive.

1515: Birdie alert. American Bubba Watson rolls in at five to go under for his round, as does Aussie Adam Scott at six. Like an ageing lothario, you've got to enjoy these birdies when you can today, folks. Looks like I over-estimated Louis Oosthuizen's drive in my previous entry - he has to hack out of something rather filthy and he's shot well past the green. Ouch. Conversely, Martin Kaymer gets his up rather nicely, only for his approach to drop short. Not as bad as Oosty's, but Kaymer has a long-un left. MONSTER! Tom Watson sinks a doozy at three for a two from all of 30 feet. Lovely stuff. And Padraig Harrington over on seven sinks his first birdie of the day to get back up to two over. Any money on Paddy this week?

1508: Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell looks on with some concern as he chips well past the hole on his approach at five - he has work to do to save par and remain two over - but the pack of three I just mentioned, Mickelson, Oosthuizen and Kaymer, all get well off the tee at four, the latter just creeping into a touch of fairway rough. Up ahead on the fourth green, Lee Westwood lips a long putt in and out to miss out on par and drop to two over.

1505: Cheers Dirsy. He's right you know, it IS sunny in Salford. Who'd have thought it. Sam Lyon in the chair for a spell now - and out on the course at Sandwich, Martin Kaymer sends a long one by at three to miss out on birdie - he stays level par - while Phil Mickelson pulls a birdie up short at the same hole to stay one over. Defending champ Louis Oosthuizen wobbles a tiddler round the hole and out and he drops back to one over. Scoring low is not going to get much easier out there.

By Ben Dirs

1459: American Chad Campbell makes a birdie putt disappear at 11 to join the group on two under. Old Tom Watson kicks off with a par, while 2001 champion David Duval collapsed to a 78 after a promising start. I'm stepping outside for 20 minutes or so, here's Sam Lyon for a bit...

1454: "How about a mention for Richard McEvoy, making his Open debut and having a solid round?" texts Bruce in Essex. Bruce, because you're called Bruce, I will mention that McEvoy of England is level after 15. Commendable. Kaymer of Germany with a sweet chip and run but he blows the birdie chance, leaving it right of the cup. Stricker unerring at three, par from eight feet to stay level. Local knowledge from Sandy, winner at Royal St George's in 1985, finding a green-side hump at eight and bending his ball close to the pin. Shot gone for Westwood at three, Schwartzel makes birdie, Clarke lets one go at the par-five seventh to drop back to evens. Here's first alternate Ricky Barnes on the first, he marmalises one straight down the middle.

1446: Darren Clarke birdied two and four and is one under through six. He was making some confident noises ahead of this event, would be good to see him contending. Westwood on the 239-yard par-three third. We're guessing five iron into the breeze... overcooks it, through the green. Stricker, who hits it low, scuds his ball through as well. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel parred one and two and that's a doozy at three, bringing it in off the breeze to within 10 feet. Oosthuizen out of the traps with a par at the first.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Chris, a bored medical student on a psychiatry placement, via text on 81111: "Re: 1335 - Schizophrenia isn't a split personality disorder, it involves psychotic symptoms such as delusions (unshakeable false beliefs) and hallucinations (often hearing voices). Other than that, keep up the good work."

1439: Shot gone for Mickelson at the first after his putt from off the green comes up well wide. Only one top-10 in 18 Open appearances for 'Leftie', fourth in 2004. Westwood doesn't hit his birdie putt at two and stays level par. Peter Whiteford of Scotland is one under through 11, the highest-placed player out on the course.

1434: Anders Hansen in with a very handy 68 - two Danes in the top four. Mickelson had a brute of a lie and could only just bunt his ball back on the fairway. I say 'bunt', he went at it like a lumberjack attempting to fell a redwood with a single blow. Australian Jason Day - runner-up in his last two majors - makes birdie at three to get back to level par. Could he be the one half of a McIlroy-Day rivalry for years to come? He looks to have the tools. Steve Stricker, winner in the States last week, is out and about and safely on in two at the second.

Rory McIlroy
US Open champion Rory McIlroy: "It was OK. It was a tough day. I knew I wouldn't have too many birdie chances but I'm happy with the way I've started. I feel the harder it is, the better it is for me and as long as I can keep it level par I think it will be a good score and hopefully if I can do that then I'll come close."

1424: Donald misreads his birdie putt at 18 but pops in the par putt for a round of 71. Six off the lead, but still very much in the hunt. Garcia, with that awkward claw grip of his, misses his saver at the last to finish bogey-par-bogey and a round of 70. Here's our champion, Lodewicus Theodorus 'Louis' Oosthuizen, on the first tee and he's safely away. Not so Phil Mickelson, 'Leftie' finding the rough. Westwood's birdie attempt at one stays right but he's safely in for par. Adam Scott - yet another 'best player never to have won a major' - is off to a flyer, birdie at the first.

1418: As England's world number one completes his round, England's world number two has lift-off - Lee Westwood with three wood off the first tee and he gives it some hammer. Stephen Gallacher of Scotland came back in 32 today for a round of 70, which is very respectable indeed. Here's Padraig rolling in a 10-footer for birdie at three as Garcia clips his third into the heart of the green - he's got a knee-knocker for par at the last and a round of 69. McDowell squeezes in his 10-footer at two for par, something of a touch after six at the first.

1412: Garcia pushes his drive right at 18 - he'll get a drop away from the white picket fence, at least. Edoardo Molinari of Italy bends in a birdie at six to get to one under. News in that Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts has withdrawn after taking a tumble on a moped midweek, meaning American Ricky Barnes will get a go instead and England's David Horsey is next off the rank. Garcia did get a drop at 18 but he's mangled his second - that could be out of bounds... Anders Hansen stays two under after 17, Donald safely on with his second at 18...

1404: Clarke with a big left-to-right breaker at four to get to one under. McDowell has made a right old nause-up of the opening hole - double-bogey six. Great saver from Garcia at 17 to stay one under, Donald finally lands a birdie to get to one over. Tom Watson out on the range, he'll be teeing it up shortly...

Rob Hodgetts on Twitter: "Asked if he will celebrate his 66 with a glass of Rioja, Jimenez said, 'doesn't matter what I shoot, I always have glass of Rioja.'"

1358: McIlroy's birdie effort at 18 ducks left too soon, but that's a pretty tidy opening round of 71 for the US Open champion and bookies' favourite. Donald gives himself a birdie chance with a pearler of an apporach from the rough at 17 and Els makes a saver at 18 for a fighting 72. Fowler in with a level-par 70 - three birdies, three bogeys, five off the lead.

1352: Brollies up as a squally shower scuds overheard. Casey makes par at 18 for a four-over 74, Curtis in for a seven-over 77. I think we can safely say the American will not be winning at Royal St George's this year. Former US Open champion Graeme McDowell with his second shot at the first and he scoots it through the green from the rough. A native of wild and windy Portrush, McDowell is many people's tip for the Championship.

1347: Rory spangles his drive down the right-hand side of the fairway at 18, not the angle he wanted into the green. Els at the 459-yard 18th and he's tugged his left into the wispy stuff. Many thanks Tim in Marlow, who has texted in to point out it should be 'concertina', not 'consatina'. Sorry, not really a word you use in everyday conversation, unless you're trying to fleece people in Montmartre. Garcia's par putt at 16 squirts right, he's back to -1.

1341: McIlroy all over the flag like cheap suit with his approach at 17. News of Ben Curtis, winner at Royal St George's in 2003 - six over after 17... the old breeze still tugging away at the trouser legs like an irritating toddler with sweets in mind, but McIlroy makes his eight-footer disappear at 17 to get back to one over. Gregory Bourdy back to level par courtesy of a snaking chip and run at 14. Thomas Bjorn very emotional at his post-round presser today, his father passed away recently: "He would have been very proud of me, that's all I need to say."

1335: Garcia plops out of the sand at 15, he'll have a 15-footer for par. Poulter for birdie at 18 - that was for a 68, but didn't hit it, in for 69. Ballsy from Donald from off the short stuff at 15 and his ball races by the cup. Sergio makes that putt - his spurs are jingle-jangling, he stays two under. Donald stays two over, nothing dropping for him today. Schizophrenic round from Dustin Johnson - five bogeys, three birdies and an ace for a round of 70. Ikeda of Japan in with a one-under 69. Birdie for Darren Clarke at two, the Northern Irishman back to level.

1329: Garcia up to his guts in rough - horrible. A bit of old-skool Sergio - big old heave-ho, on one leg, safely out - until it comes to rest in a green-side bunker. Hansen shows sweet touch at 14, the man with three runners-up spots so far this season, he should climb to two under. McIlroy stays two over through 16. Here's Jimenez on the box - face like a chewed-up ball of gum, likes his booze, fast cars and fags, gotta live him.

1322: Fowler's long-range birdie attempt stays just right at 15, he stays level. McIlroy and Els remain +2. Justin Rose reveals he woke up at 9am this morning. Is that early - or late? Anders Hansen of Denmark is one under through 13, as Sergio finds rough off the tee at 15. McIlroy at the par-three 16th and that's safely into the heart. My man Matteo Manassero makes a safe par at 18 for a round of 73 - eight off the lead, but not out of it yet. Two-time major winner Angel Cabrera is in with a one-over 71.

1315: The inclement weather in Sandwich has done nothing for the sartorial flamboyancy on display: Fowler all in black, Poulter in rather sombre navy. Cink in with a round of 70, five off the lead, Donald lets a birdie chace slip away at 14, he stays one over. McIlroy with gossamer touch at 15, he should save par. Poulter moves under par with a six-footer at 17, the Englishman on something of a roll.

1309: David Duval, 2001 champion at Lytham, is +4 through 12. Here's Donald bending one in at 14 and that's a very decent effort. Ikeda with his second at 17 and it comes up short and rolls back down the slope guarding the front of the putting stuff. Poulter's all over the flag with his approach, another birdie chance, the Englishman is currently level.

1306: Here's Ian Poulter, and he rolls in a banana for birdie at 16. McIlroy pops in for par at the par-five 14, Els in for birdie. Garcia's bent one into stand at 14 - but what a break that is, his ball ricocheting just short of the green. Nick Watney of the US birdies 15 and 16 to get back to +5. Favourite food? Mexican. Favorite movie? The Bourne Supremacy. Favourite drink? Chocolate milk.

1300: Stewart Cink - champion in 2009 - is chugging along nicely, one under through 16. Some might call him faceless, but he's got 1,207,847 followers on Twitter. Why? "Between you and me, I didn't like the pocket cavity long irons either." You can't buy banter like that. Fowler with a quacking hook at 14, McIlroy finds sand, Els sets up an eagle opportunity. Donald pulls out the three iron and pings his tee shot short of the Suez Canal - he won't make it on in two from there. McIlroy having to fold himself up like a consatina in a green-side bunker at 14, but he's safely. ACE! Dustin Johnson at 16! He was four over after 13, he's now back to level. Jimenez with a fine par save at the last and he's in with a 66 - one off the lead. Go and have a glass of Rioja Baja.

1248: Jimenez rolls in his birdie putt at 17 to move within one of the lead. Twirl of the cap, little swivel, he's been here before. Donald from the cabbage at 13 and that's a decent effort, into the guts of the green. Yuta Ikeda of Japan is rumbling along nicely, the Japanese is two under through 14. Sergio is two under through 13 - right in the middle from 15 feet, two birdies on the spin. Donald with a brute of a right-to-lefter to save par, and he doesn't like this at all, backing off several times before tugging his effort just left. The world number one drops to +1.

1242: McIlroy drops back to one over courtesy of a bogey at 13, Fowler drops back to level par. Sweet as a nut from Jimenez at 17 - his second is all over the flag, and he tugs on a string and brings his ball to within a few feet of the hole. Garcia with his second into the wind at 13 - 187 yards, five iron, skirts with the sand but safely on. Els unsheaths the three iron and pings one down the left-hand side at 14; McIlroy cosies up nextdoors; Fowler moves in behind them. That's a very reachable par-five, by the way.

1238: Garcia rattles in a birdie at 12 to get back under par. Few technical problems folks, which I apologise for - Ben Dirs in the hotseat. Ryan Moore of the US in with a one-under 69 - here's another nugget from his website: "If you catch Ryan off the course, in an everyday casual setting, more than likely you'll see him kicking it in a pair of Tom's. If you haven't tried these shoes or at least heard of them, first of all they are they comfortable, come in a thousand colors and variations, they are light, and go along with the barefoot ideology Ryan embraces."

1232: McIlroy in some rubbish at 13 and he comes up short. Fowler with five iron and he pushes it short and right. Donald at 12, with a 15-footer for birdie... misses by a couple of inches. Peach of an approach by Els at 13 to set up a birdie chance. Ishikawa squeezes in a 10-footer at 12 to get back to five over, still 10 shots behind leader Bjorn.

1228: Rickie Fowler on tee at 13 and he rattles one straight down the middle. Jimenez on 16 from 20 feet... safe par three. Donald from the light stuff on 12 and that's a peach into the left-hand side of the green. Garcia on the par-four 12th and he trumps Donald, that's a crackerjack of an approach. Jimenez taps in for par at 16, the cigar-chomping Spaniard stays three under, two off leader Bjorn.

1223: Ryan Moore of the US putting a solid round together, he's one under after 17. Here's what he has to say about his favourite drink, the Starbucks Grande Starbucks Doubleshot: "They are everywhere, and you can always count on getting your drink the way you like it, nice for someone who travels constantly. *warning: this drink is for the coffee lover/connoisseur only/this packs a caffeine punch and is not for the faint/frappacino hearted." I'm not making this up...

1219: Many thanks Ash. Greetings from rain and windswept Sandwich, via sunny Salford - no, seriously. Another one goes for 'The Bashful Prince', Ryo Ishikawa six over after 11. Shot gone for Donald at 11, he leaves a five-footer high and drops to level par. McIlroy stays one over, his long-range birdie attempt at 12 stays a couple of inches left. Els can't make anything disappear, his birdie attempt squirts right.

By Mark Ashenden

1210: McIlroy plodding along and stays on +1. After his two bogeys on the first three holes, he has definitely steadied with a birdie and seven pars. As the rain begins to fall down a little faster, it's time to pass the reins over to a man you may have heard of - Benjamin Dirs. I bet he hates being called Benjamin. Well there it is in black and white. Deal with it Dirsy. Thanks for all your thoughts. Over to you Ben. Can McIlroy turn on the style in his last few holes? Will anybody better Bjorn's 65 in the clubhouse later? Over to you Ben.

1159: Bjorn has a bit of work to do to save par on his last hole and the brollies come out. Yep - the clouds are releasing some minor drizzle. And he doesn't .....a bogey on the 18th leaves him with a still rather splendid 65. Seven birdies, two bogeys, nine pars. A stunning effort considering this morning's wind.

1154: John Daly is back! A birdie at the seventh gets him on to level par. Graeme Storm is back in the warm having carded a level-par 70. Mark O'Meara cards a six-over 76.

InfostradaLive on Twitter: "The Open is without a British winner in the last 11 events, since Scotland's Paul Lawrie won it in 1999. This is the longest British drought at the Open since a 15-year run between 1969 - England's Tony Jacklin and 1985 - Scotland's Sandy Lyle. "

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Daniel in Stevenage, via text 81111: "I've just started a new job where my desk has two widescreen computer screens for my work. I have my work on one, the golf on another. Not sure if that\'s what the boss had in mind with the two screens but it's working well for me."

1144: Bjorn has an absolute shocker on the 17th and a par leaves him on six under. Terrible.

1143: If you're after steady, blemish-free golf, look no further than England's Simon Dyson. A third birdie on the 17th and he's cruised on to -3.

1141: Wondering what's happening to John Daly? After his fireworks on the opening hole, he cards bogeys on the fourth and fifth and he's on one over.

1136: Rickie Fowler is doing very nicely and turns around after nine holes on two under after a birdie on the ninth. McIlroy grabs another par and remains on +1 after his nine pretty ordinary holes. Not so hot for Ernie Els who sits on a rather stodgy three over having picked up bogeys on the eighth and ninth.

BBC Radio 5 Live
Mark Calcavacchia on Radio 5 live after his 69: "It wasn't as windy as it has been the last few days, but it's still blowing pretty hard out there. This type of golf requires a huge amount of imagination, you need to see the shots you want to hit.....I really like this course, even though it's a little quirky. It's fun."

1129: Who said this is a tricky time to be playing the course? Thomas Bjorn is having an utterly stunning half an hour. A fourth birdie in five holes and his putt on the par-three 16th wiggles, wobbles, dobbles and falls in. He's on six under. He'll be gutted to walk back into that clubhouse in about 35 minutes.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Jason, via text 81111: "At daughter's sports day - keeping updated with your text commentary whilst trying not to make it too obvious! Feel like I'm going to get told off by a teacher if i get caught not paying attention."
Shocking yet nice. Is there not a sports day program you can bury your phone inside?

1125: Thomas Bjorn makes it three birdies in four holes and his sixth of the round so far. Five under. Brilliant. One man trying to grab those Danish tails is Jimenez who sinks a corker to get to three under. The scoreboard summit is getting a little lively as American Stewart Cink bags his third birdie in four holes to also move to -3 after 11 holes.

1120: Allow me to point you in the direction of a rather sweet photo gallery, along with music by Katy Perry and James Blunt. A nice little round-up of the action so far.

Rory McIlroy
1117: BOOM. It's birdie o'clock at last for Rory McIlroy. Relief at last as he moves back to one over after he sinks a 10-footer (ish) on the eighth. How are those Rory doom-mongers feeling now?

1114: I've had my knuckles wrapped for going quiet on Sergio Garcia. I can reveal his card looks like a delightful Scooby-doo tuna sandwich right now. Three pieces of bread representing the six pars with one slice of blue (bogey) tuna slapped in the middle and he's on one over.

1111: McIlroy pitches in to get within 12 feet on the eighth green and he swaggers down the fairway with that cheeky little swagger. Time for some birdie action Rory?

Graeme McDowell on Twitter: "Played 9 holes with @PGA_JohnDaly yesterday. Legend. Prep done and ready for a great week. Drinking a coffee watching the Beeb coverage."
G-Mac seems in super-chill mode. Wonder if he's also catching up on the live text. G-Mac tees off at 1343 BST.

Luke Donald
1106: I'm officially running out of superlatives for that Danish bacon as Thomas Bjorn grabs another birdie to move two shots clear on -4. And finally some joy for Luke Donald after a string of near-misses. A 30-foot putt left to right disappears down the hole and he covers his face with his visor in jubilation, perhaps with a tinge of relief. The world number one moves to one under.

1102: A very fair day at the office for Sheffield's Danny Willett who is the clubhouse leader on -1 after a fab 69. Three birdies, two bogeys and the rest pars. Sweet stuff.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
John in Durham, via text 81111: "Trying to mark essays on evolutionary psychology and mate selection but i am more interested in the survival of the fittest out there on the course! And this dichotomy on my birthday!"
Keep up the good work.

1058: Over to the par five seventh. Els sinks his birdie. McIlroy just misses out and Fowler gets his. "A poorly conceived second shot" says Jay Townsend on 5 live about McIlroy's efforts. Still no birdie for the US Open champ.

1055: England's Paul Casey will have had better starts to a major championship. Four pars and three bogeys leave him struggling on +3.

1053: Other players all now on level par are Martin Laird, Matteo Manassero, Ian Poulter and Rickie Fowler.

Luke Donald
1050: Donald's ball takes a trip around the side of the cup on the par-three sixth and it stays out and he drops to level par.

1047: Miguel Angel Jimenez cards his second birdie of the day to finish off his first nine holes on -2. A very tidy start to the day for the Spaniard.

1039: Another contender for stinkiest round of the day. American Todd Hamilton begun with six pars but then his world caves in. A double bogey and four more bogeys and he's on +6. OOOoofff.

InfostradaLive on Twitter: "Three of the last four Open champions at Royal St George's were over par after the first four holes. Ben Curtis in 2003 was not, he was -1 after four holes"
Curtis meanwhile in 2011 is on +1 after five pars and a bogey.

1032: There are 66 players out on the course fighting the winds and only 11 are breaking par right now. Testing times.

1031: McIlroy thwacks his eight iron on the par-three sixth and the ball drops to within around 12 feet. Cue more loud claps. Els and Fowler all within a couple of feet of him as well. Birdie chances for all three.

1028: The Danish bacon continues to sizzle. Another birdie and Thomas Bjorn is three under at the top of the board. Graeme Storm drops to -1 with a bogey on the 15th.

1025: "A nice little settler" says Ken Brown as McIlroy putts a semi-tricky eight-footer to par the fifth. Not so good for Els though who cards a bogey and drops to +1.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Dan in Dorchester, via text 81111: "Think I might be in a bit of trouble, day off, wife wanted me to do some DIY, I want to take the kayak out, had to wait in for a delivery, text wife to say delivery had arrived and I was off out, sorry but no time to do DIY. Reality? No sign of delivery just spread out on sofa enjoy golf on TV AND laptop. The trouble? Just took a phone call to say delivery won't be coming today at all. Not sure how I'm gonna explain this to the wife!"
Let us know how you get on. If you need an alibi, I have a list of at least a dozen you can borrow.

Luke Donald
Luke Donald just misses out on another birdie but he's looking in fine fettle on -1 after nearly four holes.

robbrown22 on Twitter: "The Open quite often spring's up a surprise result and a story with it, so I'm saying this year it could be Matteo Manassero!"

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Anon, via text 81111: "Alex C is right, Rory's career is on the slide, sell all your shares in the McIlroy brand, the dream is over, Tiger Mark II is broken."
Didn't take you long to join the pessimism bandwagon.

1012: A lively opening five holes from Ian Poulter. Bogey, birdie, par, bogey, par. And he's on +1.

1008: Want to get involved in all of this? Feel free to tweet me with anything you like at @bbcsport_mark or just get involved by using the hashtag at #bbcgolf ) OR if you prefer some phone operations, then text 81111 (UK) with GOLF before your message.

1006: McIlroy gets within a foot of his birdie putt on the fourth. And it goes in for a par. Meanwhile, John Daly holes a 40-footer on the first hole. Brilliant. Also brilliant is his orange bobble hat glowing like a radioactive satsuma.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Alex C from London, via text 81111: "It's all good saying Rory shouldn't worry as it is a long weekend but majors like this are decided by one or two shots and his bogeys are really hurting his chances. Needs to sort it out now before it is all too late."

BBC Radio 5 Live
Mark Roe, disqualified after third round of 2003 Open when only two shots off the pace, on BBC 5 live: "It's a beautiful golf course but you have to be strategically correct. If you can find the middle of the greens, you can do very well indeed."

1000: Ding dong. Scotland's Martin Laird cards two straight birdies on seven and eight and flies up to two under and joins the top of the leaderboard.

0959: A heads-up for the button de rouge. Red button and online coverage of holes 14-16 starts at 1000 BST.

0957: Two booming but equally wild drives from Fowler and McIlroy on the fifth. The American in the long stuff - the very long stuff - and McIlroy in the middle long stuff. Tricky.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Peter in Liverpool, via text 81111: "Watch out for my pick of the week - Matt Kucher. Made the effort to go to Scotland last week and the big man should be solid in the wind. Breaks my heart to say but I think a USA player will win this week."

0953: Two players back on the rise are Graeme Storm and Mark Calcavecchia. A birdie each and they're back on -2.

0950: It's bogey o'clock. Fowler's putt jumps over the right-side of the cup. Bjorn drops a shot to finish his opening nine on -2, while McIlroy's ball stays out for his second bogey of the day.

0947: The problems are still prodding Rory. He chips out of the long stuff and he'll have a very tricky seven-footer to save par on the par-three third. On the blustery conditions, TV commentator Ken Brown says "it will be a real test of patience today".

BBC Sport
Boxing legend Barry McGuigan on BBC Two: "It's not an ideal start for Rory but there's a long way to go. But he's used to playing links courses. He seems to have got it together since the first hole."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Andrew in Newcastle, via text 81111: "I got promoted to warehouse manager 10 months ago and my first responsibility was to organise the 2 week shutdown we have each year. Only the golfers understood why it's a week earlier this year. That is why I'm so popular in the office."
Big chat.

0942: There's a great Dane storming the course like sizzling bacon. Thomas Bjorn cards two successive birdies and is -3 after eight holes and is the outright leader.

0940: The smile and semi-swagger returns to McIlroy who knocks in his six-footer to save par at the second. Pars also for Fowler and Els.

Luke Donald
0937: Meanwhile the world number one Luke Donald sinks a short one to bag a par on the opener. Steady, as ever.

0934: The weatherman may have said interesting a few minutes ago and hole two has been very interesting. McIlroy's approach shot skips through to the hearty of this massive green. Semi-interesting. Fowler just off the edge. Els though pitches over the bunker and it goes short and wildly to the left. Interesting. The wind is dishing up a feast right now. Great recovery from the South African Els though.

BBC Radio 5 Live
Former European Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher: "There's a steely determination about Luke Donald and I'm very optimistic that he will give a great show this week. He's an absolute wizard around the greens with his chipping and putting and that's going to be the key this week, who can get up and down."

0930: Calcavecchia drops a shot on the 11th and slips down to -1. That allows Thomas Bjorn, Ryan Moore and Alvaro Quiros to sit pretty on -2 at the top.

0922: One player everybody seems to talk about is Sergio Garcia. Can he? Won't he? Will he? He's just started anyway. Back to Rory and that looks a little tentative and it's a dropped shot for the US Open champ. It took him 36 holes before dropping his first shot at Congressional. Today, it's taken him one hole. Early days though eh?....

0917: A few "ooohs" as McIlroy's ball slips off the green way over 40 feet beyond the flag that is flapping in the wind. His grey jacket also flapping madly. Fowler's hands in his pockets and he looks cold! Fowler and McIlroy's balls almost kissing each other. AMAZING from Fowler! He grasps his putter, the ball looks short and right but it picks up pace and bends into the hole. Rory up next.....his putt drifts beyond the hole and he'll have a tricky 10-footer for par. "A nasty one" says Alliss. A cracking start for Fowler though - that should warm up his American paws.

0914: WEATHER FLASH: Bit blustery today, warm and pleasant Friday and the weekend is set for more wind and plenty of wet stuff. "It will make it very interesting" says the BBC weatherman.

0910: McIlroy booms his opening shot to big cheers and his ball bobbles along and spits just off the right side of the fairway. The ball is sitting up nicely though. Commentator Peter Allis oozes with joy at the sight of the sprightly 22-year-old. Els and Fowler all safe as well and the three players stroll off the opening stage.

0909: Calcavecchia is on -2 after his opening nine holes and leads the field by one shot. Seven pars and two birdies. Steady stuff.

Rory McIlroy
0906: "I want to go out and be the best player in the world" says Rory McIlroy. Three minutes away from teeing off and there are huge cheers and "COME ON RORY" boom out as he approaches the first tee. Ernie Els is the first off though in the threesome.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Jon in Whitstable, via text 81111: "As much as I'd like to see Rory or one of the Brits win - I just can't see it. Royal St Georges always gives us a surprise - just look at the winner in 2003. I'm going for one of the more unfancied players - just don't ask me who."
Then who?

0901: The Open is now a truly multi-media experience. BBC Two and Radio 5 live are now a go-go. Get to it. And McIlroy is buffing up his clubs eight minutes away from starting. How do you think he'll cope with the world's weight of expectations on his northern Irish shoulders as US Open champion. TWEET or TEXT ME.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Anon, via text 81111: "Nice to see a solid start for live text's old favourite Charley Hoffman - 7 straight pars. Don't hassle him!"

InfostradaLive on Twitter: "If Rory McIlroy wins the Open, he will be the third youngest Open winner in history at 22 years and 74 days. He would be the youngest winner since Scotland's Willie Auchterlonie in 1893 (21 years 24 days)."
C'mon - lambast me for this ridiculous championing of Rory but you can't knock the tops stats. Now where's that cup of tea? Tea stats so far - none today. One on the way and it can't come soon enough. How are all your stats?

0845: A reminder. Rory McIlroy goes off at 0909 BST alongside Ernie Els and Rickie Fowler. What a threesome of firecrackers that is. Ian Poulter's shaking his thing on the first tee as we speak. Donald and Garcia off at 0920, while Goosen and Hunter off at 0931. Who are you keeping an eye on today? Any outside bets you want to tell the world about? TEXT OR TWEET ME.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Kate in Bristol, via text 81111: "First ever visit to the Open this weekend me and the other half have decided to hedge our bets between Lee, Luke, Sergio and Padraig... My heart lives with Lee!"
Have a great time.

0836: Just teeing off alongside American Nick Watney and Argentina's Angel Cabrera is Italian Matteo Manassero. If you want to read up on this exciting 18-year-old who became the youngest-ever winner of the British Amateur Championship in 2009 aged 16 then check out this fine blog by BBC Sport's Ben Dirs. A cracking read.

0834: American Gary Woodland has opened up with a pair of bogeys and a pair of pars. While his compatriot Jerry Kelly goes from bad to badder. More bogeys than a five-year-old boy's sleeve in October and he's on +5 after eight holes.

0829: No imminent collapse from Willett but that boy Mark Calcavecchia (champion in 1989) is doing rather well. He's now leading with his second birdie at the day on the par-five seventh. -2 and leading the pack.

0828: Please REFRESH this page and you'll get a whole load of video. Please also note the live video and Radio 5 live coverage gets cranking up from 0900 BST.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Mike in Yateley, via text 81111: "Self employed but taking 2 days off (I'm a plumber, it's costing me!) to watch the golf on BBC. Nobody does it better. Nice tenuous link there to Ian Fleming who was a member at Royal St Georges"
Anybody else know of other courses where famous peeps play? Although I fear this text may also encourage a stream of Bond-related golf jokes....perhaps?

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
David in Eastbourne, via text 81111: "I would love to see young Rory win again but I foresee the winner coming from overseas once again. Fancy Jason Day to do very well after the two second places in the Masters and US Open. Other picks are Adam Scott (relentless though dodgy belly-putter), Zach Johnson (has the major winning pedigree) and Brandt Snedeker (by far the silliest name in golf!)."

0815: Sheffield's Danny Willett, aged 23, starts the day with six glorious pars. And he's only gone and ruined his card with a birdie at the par-five seventh to join the top of the leaderboard gang on one under. And it goes without saying - I mention a player and the bogeys follow. After those two birdies, Graeme Storm bogeys the sixth and he slips back to level par. Anybody else you want me to mention and provide the kiss of death by bogey?

InfostradaLive on Twitter: "Royal St George's hosts the Open for the 14th time. The last Open edition here was in 2003, when Ben Curtis won. Only St Andrews (28), Prestwick Golf club (24) and Miurfield (15) have hosted the Open more often."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
James in Newark, via text 81111: "I would like to pledge my complete and utter support to Mr McDowell and Mr Harrington. You are my chosen two. I realise its going to be a rollercoaster, I am with you always lads. But come Sunday let us together arrive in what I know will be described as golfing perfection."

0759: All this talk of the weather has got one man firing up the leaderboard. Graeme Storm (cheesy gag I know but surely allowed before 8 o'clock no?) is tied with four others on one under after birdies at the third and fifth. Others at the top are Calcavecchia, Havret, Jacobson and Bjorn. And at the other end, the man who was the first player to swing his clubs this morning Jerry Kelly has just bogeyed the par-three sixth having steadied his wobbly ship with three pars following his earlier double bogey. He's now on +4. Anybody else you want me to keep any eye on? Or any other questions? I'm here for you.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Stu in Shrewsbury, via text 81111: "I am far too excited. 2 days off work, 4 days of golf, 1 34th birthday all rolled into the greatest sporting weekend of all! Pick for week is Garcia and big Bubba."
Happy birthday.

0751: "I'm the sort of person that likes a little bit of a buzz in the atmosphere around the group and I'll enjoy it. I'll definitely enjoy it." Nope, not me talking about my thoughts entering the office door this morning. The words of Rory McIlroy who heads off at 0909 BST along with 2002 champion Ernie Els and American Rickie Fowler. Anybody else buzzing on their way to work today? Anybody done a sickie to watch the golf? (Not that i could condone such behaviour). Anybody taken leave to watch the golf? Anybody heading to Sandwich? So many questions.....anybody got any answers? TWEET or TEXT. DO IT.

John Daly on Twitter: "Just had the best pizza in town and that's hard to find when you're not in NYC!"
A tweet from the great man from last night. The perfect pre-tournament meal surely? Daly tees off at 0953 BST. If he's anything like I am after a night on the pizza, he'll be chomping on some cold garlic bread as we speak. Mmmm.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Boon in Swansea, via text 81111: "I love the Open, why oh why do we have to work for a living! Open Thursdays and Fridays should be public holidays. My pick for the week is Retief Goosen with Adam Scott a close second."
If there is someone more enthusiastic about this year's Open please step forward right now. TWEET or TEXT me.

0736: Bit more news on Jerry Kelly who began the 140th Open Championship just over an hour ago. His bogey at the first may not have been the best way of starting but it remained an improvement on his last trip to Sandwich. When the Open was last staged at Royal St George's in 2003, Kelly took 11 on the opener on his way to a first round of 86. And just for the record, Tiger Woods (remember him?) carded a seven on the same hole in wet and windy conditions.

0732: Apologies. Just realised many of you will not have access to that weather video forecast. Basically, today will be breezy, bit of sun and warm and showers over the weekend. In essence, Sandwich will experience all the weather over the next 96 hours.

0726: Hands up who likes talking about the weather? Idle small talk or a valuable item of conversation? Either way, the wind at Royal St George's may play a big part for some of the players teeing off later today. Here's the perfect way of checking out whether you need your brollie, wellies or sunglasses

Text in your views on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide)
Andrew in Leeds, via text 81111: "The talk before these competitions trying to identify the winner is laughable. Nobody is going to say in interviews they can't win and in reality there must be 25 who could win? Luck, fate and skill needed."
Someone's got out of bed the wrong side. Fair point though Andrew. Who's top of your list of 25 then? Are you suggesting all talk of predictions and tips should be redundant then? We'd have nothing to talk trying to put me out of a job?

0721: The stinkiest start to the day so far goes to American Jerry Kelly. Bogey, double bogey and a sweet sweet par at the par-three third on his card.

0716: A few pointers for some quality video to help you prepare mentally for this cracking event. Firstly some beautiful archive of Seve Ballesteros at the Open . Secondly, an aerial view of Royal St George's. Thirdly, Radio 5 live goes behind the scenes at the Open.

0714: We have a new leader! France's Gregory Havret has birdied the opener and is the only man under par with nine players now out on the course.

0712: Want to get involved in all of this? Feel free to tweet me with anything you like at @bbcsport_mark or just get involved by using the hashtag at #bbcgolf ) OR if you prefer some phone operations, then text on 81111 (UK) with GOLF before your message.

0706: Having dished out a few names of players and their tee off times, I have no doubt encouraged a plethora of communication calling me all sorts of names wondering why the heck I haven't included Bo Van Pelt or Bill Haas or Francesco Molinari. The official leaderboard or the BBC Sport's list of tee off times will help you out with full details. Let me know who you will be looking out for.

BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts at Sandwich: "Former champ Mark Calcavecchia off in second group. Last seen swilling beer outside Sandwich pub about 830pm last night. Strong effort."

0700: That man is....JOHN DALY. It's the question on everybody's lips...and they of course concern his trousers (or 'pants' if you're from the other side of the pond)....colour, shades, pattern, will he actually be wearing any? So many questions. We will find out from 0953BST when the big man tees off.

0652: Well, 20 minutes into day one Australian Nathan Green sits proudly at the top of the leaderboard after a birdie at the first. A few names to look out for coming up.... Stewart Cink off at 0820 BST, Ian Poulter at 0842 BST, Paul Casey at 0858 BST, Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroyat 0909, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia at 0920....and there's one tee off time I feel should have its own home...and that's coming right up.

0639: A quick overview of the BBC coverage you can expect today. Live video on BBC Two, HD, Red Button and online from 0900 BST until 2000. Radio 5 live is across everything from 1000 BST and there's a ginger man called Chris Evans on Radio 2 who is also providing his own unique insight into the latest going-ons at Sandwich. Any questions?

0632: So how are we all doing? Bit early for some perhaps but the golf is happening right now. The early starters on the first tee are American Jerry Kelly, Aussie Nathan Green and England's Danny Willett. News, gossip, quotes, tee off times all coming up. Loads to get involved with. Give me a break - I'm needing to load up on caffeine (and a teacake with marmalade I'll have you know) before I slowly move up through the gears. Welcome on board anyway.

BBC Sport
BBC Sport's Rob Hodgetts at Sandwich: "Shake and bake time. It's 140th Open. Start 0630 BST. Sandwich slowly coming to life as marshals, workers & a few hardy fans drift in."

0616: It only seems like yesterday we were all jumping up and down watching Rory McIlroy head down to the 18th at Congressional on his way to winning the US Open. Guess what. It's time for some more golf folks.....

Print Sponsor

see also
Amateur Lewis joins Bjorn in lead
15 Jul 11 |  Golf
McIlroy cards solid opening round
14 Jul 11 |  Golf
Open photos day one
14 Jul 11 |  Golf
Sunday Open tee times
16 Jul 11 |  Golf
McIlroy to play with Els & Fowler
12 Jul 11 |  Golf
Sandwich Opens in photos
11 Jul 11 |  Golf
The Open course from the air
11 Jul 11 |  Golf
The story of the 2010 Open
18 Jul 10 |  Golf
Open golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites