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Cameron Young plays from the 18th tee during his opening round 64 on the first day of The 150th Open Championship at St Andrews. Photo: AFP

150th Open Championship: flawless Young seizes early lead, as Tiger Woods endures woeful return to St Andrews

  • Cameron Young fires bogey-free 8-under par 64 at St Andrews, with Rory McIlroy just two shots back
  • Woods struggles around Old Course in grim round of 78 that lasts more than 6 hours

Cameron Young seized the lead in the first round of the 150th British Open at St Andrews on Thursday after an outstanding eight-under par 64, while Rory McIlroy sits two strokes back but Tiger Woods endured a woeful afternoon on his return to the Old Course.

Woods was determined to feature this week as he continues his recovery from severe leg injuries suffered in a car crash last year, but he toiled for a six-over 78 in a grim round that dragged on over six hours.

In contrast Young, the 25-year-old American who first played St Andrews with his parents aged 13, produced a flawless round featuring no bogeys and eight birdies after teeing off in one of the first groups.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy tees off on the 9th during the first round of the 150th Open Championship. Photo: Reuters

Ranked 32nd in the world, Young finished tied third in this year’s PGA Championship and has now put himself in a strong position to be a contender into the weekend.

“I think any time you’re around the lead in a major championship or any PGA Tour event, frankly, you get more and more comfortable every time,” Young said.

The pressure may largely be on closest challenger McIlroy, whose six-under 66 included three straight birdies between the fifth and seventh holes.

McIlroy was the favourite for the Claret Jug coming into the week and the Northern Irishman, who won the Open in 2014, lived up to his billing in the opening round.

He dropped just one shot at the par-four 13th and his score matched that in the opening round on his way to victory at Hoylake eight years ago.

“I need to go out tomorrow and back up what I just did today. I think that’s important to do,” said the 33-year-old.

“This golf course isn’t going to change that much, I don’t think, between today and tomorrow in terms of conditions.”

Australia’s Cameron Smith sat in third place after an opening 67 along with Scotland’s Robert Dinwiddie who finished his round in near-darkness.

A clutch of players were at four-under including world No 1 Scottie Scheffler of the United States.