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  Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 21:01 GMT 22:01 UK
Woosnam rides his luck
Ian Woosnam
Woosnam struggled on the back nine at Royal Lytham
Ian Woosnam was relieved to have finished only one shot over par after the first round of The Open Championship on Thursday.

The Welshman started confidently but his game fell apart after the halfway mark and Woosnam had to grit his teeth and tough it out.

"I am satisfied with that (score) the way I played," Woosnam said. "I played not too bad on the front nine but I was shocking on the back nine, I completely lost it.

"I just scrambled all the way round so I'm pleased at one over. I chipped in and got a few up and down out of bunkers - it wasn't very pretty, I just lost my rhythm completely."


That's the only trouble when you play two days in the wind, it does affect your swing
Ian Woosnam
However, Woosnam wasn't the only player to struggle, with defending champion and world No 1 Tiger Woods only managing a level-par 71.

Woosnam's fellow Welshman Phil Price fared no better, also struggling on the back nine to finish with a 74, three-over-par.

And 23-year-old Mark Pilkington carded a six-over-par 77.

Welsh amateur champion Matthew Griffiths looked set to lead the Welsh challenge after day one, but two poor closing holes spoilt an otherwise near faultless round.

The 23-year-old birdied the 16th to leave him on one-under-par, but he then bogeyed the 17th and dropped a further two shots on the tough closing hole.

England's David Dixon leads the race for the top amateur title after his one-under-par round of 70.

Rough

The leader after the opening round was Scotland's Colin Montgomerie, who made light of the difficult conditions to record a superb six-under-par round of 65.

Although Woosnam now finds himself seven shots off the lead, he knows he has two more rounds to improve and blames some of his problems on the high winds during practice.

"Hopefully I can play better tomorrow. that's the only trouble when you play two days in the wind, it does affect your swing no doubt about it.

"On the 11th I hit an eight iron out of the rough and it went left on me, finishing up against the face in the trap (bunker).

"I dropped a shot there and I started playing bad after that. I feel knackered, I really do."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Ian Woosnam with BBC Wales' John Hardy
"I was shocking on the back nine"
Phil Price with BBC Wales' John Hardy
"I played quite nicely early on"
The 130th Open, at Royal Lytham

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