AAP Golf

Scott makes shaky start to The Open

By AAP Newswire

Adam Scott has all but shot himself out of British Open contention after being swept up in the David Duval debacle during a dramatic first round at Royal Portrush.

Desperately hoping to make a run for the Claret Jug in his 20th consecutive Open tilt, Scott was instead heading for a score well over par after making a meal of the par-5s on Thursday.

Scott's front-nine three-over-par 39 ground to a halt at one point as the Australian No.1 had to wait for Duval to complete an utterly disastrous attempt of the seventh hole.

Duval, the 2001 Open champion at Royal Lytham, humiliated himself in chalking up a 13 on the 592-yard par-5 after losing two balls, hitting the wrong one and needing three shots off the tee.

Scott's group, also featuring defending champion Francesco Molinari, temporarily played through as Duval chopped his way up to the green in 12 shots before one-putting for his extraordinary baker's dozen.

Scott, Molinari and American Bryson De Chambeau eventually reached the turn after a painstaking two-and-three-quarter hours.

And Scott had plenty of ground to make up on the leaders after double-bogeying the 574-yard second and also taking bogeys on seven and nine.

He found a fairway bunker on the second, then made the cardinal sin of leaving his next shot in the trap before missing the green with his approach and being unable to get up and down to limit the damage to a bogey.

Scott rebounded brilliantly with a 25-foot birdie putt from off the green on the third, only to hook his drive on the seventh into sandy waste.

The 2013 Masters champion hit a semi-shank from the buried lie in the sand and could only manage to leave his third some 50-metres short of the green.

Another bogey on the 432-yard par-4 ninth, when he cursed himself for missing a short putt, left Scott trailing morning clubhouse leader Shane Lowry by seven strokes heading into his back nine.

But things didn't improve on his homeward nine as Scott made further bogeys on the 13th and 15th holes to slip to five-over for the championship.

Lowry carded five birdies and one lone bogey in his four-under 67 to set the early pace.

Scott was the first Australian to hit off on Thursday.

He was also hoping to be the last of Australia's six-strong contingent to tee off on Sunday, as high up the leaderboard as possible as the former runner-up chases what has increasingly become his golfing holy grail.

After leading on the back nine in the final rounds in 2012, 2013 and 2015, only to let the famous trophy slip from his fingers on all three occasions, Scott craves to be in contention once more having tasted being in the mix again at the pointy end of the past five majors.

"I had a run for four years when I felt I was going to win the thing. I'd like to get those feelings going again," Scott told AAP ahead of his 20th consecutive Open tilt.

Scott's compatriots Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith, Jake McLeod and Dimi Papadatos were all playing in the afternoon.