Injured Day off to slow start at British Open

LIAM FITZGIBBON
Last updated 02:02 19/07/2013
Jason Day
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TOUGH DAY: A wrist injury impacted Australian Jason Day in the first round of the British Open, shooting a two-over par 73.
2013 British Open
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Phil Mickelson celebrates a birdie putt on the 18th hole.

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Jason Day pushed through the pain barrier but was left to rue a British Open first round book-ended by double bogeys at Muirfield today.

The Australian, chasing his first major after a frustrating run of near misses, revealed after carding a two-over-par 73 he was still battling a troublesome wrist injury suffered at last month's US Open.

Day said he felt pain throughout the round but was not using it as an excuse, instead frustrated by silly mistakes at the beginning and end of an otherwise good round.

It left the three-time major championships runner-up well off the early pace, being set by American Zach Johnson midway through a first round being played in good conditions on a firm, golden-brown course.

Day joined a host of others in stumbling at the first hurdle on the testing par 4 first.

He recovered with three birdies but another dropped two shots on the final hole, including missing a five-foot putt.

"Overall I'm pretty happy with how I went just the start and finish were just terrible," said the 25-year-old.

"It's a little disappointing with how I finished but there's still three days left.

"The wind's going to change to an easterly and I think that's going to toughen up the course but right now I've just got to be patient and just chip away at it."

Day took pain relief to deal with his injury but said he would be able to push on.

"It's not like I broke my back or anything so it's fine," Day said.

Day was one of three of the Australian early starters to open with a double bogey, with John Senden and Peter Senior making similarly disastrous starts.

Despite having less than an hour sleep before leading out the field, jet-lagged 53-year-old Senior fought solidly well to card a 74 but Senden's score blew out to 77.

The opening hole claimed several other early victims with Scot Lloyd Saltman, who played in the first group of the day alongside Senior, making quadruple bogey.

"It's a tough fairway to hit so a lot of guys will be in the right hand rough then you've got dodge the bunkers at the front there so there's all sorts of those things," said Senior, who dropped his shots with the putter.

"It all depends on your lie. If you hit there fairway, it's not that difficult."

Others negotiated past the deep bunkers and thick rough more comfortably, including cigar-smoking Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez who raced to five under through nine holes before dropping two shots on the back nine to card a 68.

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Johnson swept to the lead with a brilliant front nine that featured three birdies and an eagle on the par-five fifth but world No 2 Rory McIlroy was struggling badly at six over par late in his first round.

Adam Scott, who let a four-shot lead slip to finish second to Ernie Els last year, was among the afternoon starters along with tournament favourite Tiger Woods.

- AAP

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