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DAY 1: British Open Roundup

Published On: Jul 18 2013 05:49:22 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 18 2013 05:50:49 PM CDT
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GULLANE, Scotland -

The first round of the British Open has come to a close, and Zach Johnson sits atop the leaderboard at (-5). Texas Longhorn Jordan Spieth is tied with the world's top golfer, Tiger Woods (-2). Below is a roundup of the top stories from day one at Muirfield.

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By the time Tiger Woods finally made his way up to the 18th green, the bleachers were half empty and long shadows crept across the fairway.
    
The major championships are usually grinds, and for anyone playing in the afternoon Thursday, the first round of the British Open was even more of a grind than ever. The wind was blowing harder than expected, the golf course was drying up by the minute, and anything around par was a score to be respected.
    
And there was Woods, feeling awfully good about a 2-under 69 that had to give him hope his five-year drought in the major championships might come to an end this week at Muirfield.
    
Woods was three shots off the lead held by Zach Johnson with three rounds to be played.

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Former champion Louis Oosthuizen has withdrawn from the British Open midway through his first round with an apparent injury.
    
The South African was driven away in a cart from the ninth fairway, after going 4 over through his first eight holes Thursday.
    
The reason for his withdrawal was not immediately disclosed.
    
Oosthuizen was the 2010 champion at St. Andrews. He pulled out of last month's U.S. Open at Merion after the first round because of a hip injury.
    
Oosthuizen was playing in a group with Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell.

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Rory McIlroy is ready to get some help after a fat 42 on the back nine almost surely put him out of contention in the British Open barely after it began.
    
Not with his swing. With his mind.
    
In McIlroy's words, "Sometimes I feel like I'm walking out there and I'm unconscious."
    
McIlroy imploded with a startling series of missed shots on the back nine Thursday on his way to a 7-over 79 that demonstrated just how much the former No. 1 player in the world is struggling with his game. He was a staggering 13 shots off the early lead even though he felt he hit the ball decently all day.
    
His round included, among other things, a putt that went into a bunker.

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One of the big surprises Thursday in the British Open came from Carl Pettersson. For the first time in a major, he's using a conventional putter.
    
Pettersson has used a long putter ever since he was in college, and the Swede has anchored it against his chest his entire professional career. A new rule adopted in May means golfers no longer will be able to use anchored strokes starting in 2016.
    
Pettersson strongly opposed the rule, but he's going along with it - at a major championship, no less. He has a short putter and uses a "claw" grip.
    
His caddie says Pettersson first used the short putter on Sunday at the John Deere Classic, where he tied for 54th.