British Open 2016

Veteran Colin Montgomerie fires opening shot of British Open at his home Royal Troon course

At the venue where he played his first stroke as a six-year-old, the now 53-year-old is playing in what will likely be his last Open

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 July, 2016, 5:50pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 July, 2016, 10:45am

The British Open began Thursday with Colin Montgomerie hitting the opening tee shot on the Royal Troon links where his father was once club secretary.

Montgomerie, widely considered the best player to have never won a major, qualified at age 53 for what likely will be his last Open.

The R&A chose him to be the first player to hit a shot on a gorgeous morning along the Irish Sea.

There wasn’t an empty seat in the grandstand next to the first tee, where the silver Claret Jug was on a podium.

There was no wind, allowing the early starters to take aim at one of the shorter courses on the Open rotation. Montgomerie teed off with Marc Leishman and Luke Donald.

Montgomerie started with a buried lie in a pot bunker on the first hole and made double bogey.

He might want to heed his own advice. Speaking of how easy the front nine is at Royal Troon, the Scot once famously said if a player is not under par at the turn, he might as well keep walking to Prestwick and have lunch in the clubhouse.

Prestwick, site of the first 12 British Opens, is adjacent to Royal Troon.

But he recovered brilliantly from his double bogey, running off five birdies in seven holes to make the turn at three-under.

He finished his first round with an even-par 71.