The conditions for scoring during the first round of the British Open at Royal St. George’s Golf Club are optimal, even with a substantial wind.
The course is firm but green, and players are feeling comfortable enough to attack the pins. Remember, the last time this event came through Darren Clarke won it at 5 under. Brian Harman was 4 under through his first six holes on Thursday morning.
And while the winds are expected to remain prevalent, the lack of substantial length is allowing players to get close enough for solid approaches heading into the wind and then attack the greens when they’ve got the wind at their backs.
For example, Brooks Koepka had a solid breeze behind him when he stepped to the tee at the par-4 10th hole, which is playing at 417 yards. The four-time major champ took a mighty cut and nearly reached the green.
After the big drive, however, Koepka only managed par. And although he has yet to win at the British, he’s had plenty of success on the other side of the pond, posting three top-10 finishes in his last four starts at the major.
As for the course, Royal St. George’s opened in 1887 with a Laidlaw Purves layout that has been renovated and restored several times, most recently by Martin Ebert, who has worked on several British Open layouts including Royal Portrush before the 2019 Open. Royal St. George’s ranks No. 9 on Golfweek’s Best list of top courses in Great Britain and Ireland.
The course will be set up at 7,189 yards with a par of 70 for this year’s Open.