Australian Rod Pampling has officially set the 144th British Open on its way with the opening tee shot at the Old Course in St Andrews.
Pampling guided a lovely three-iron down the middle after being introduced by the “voice of the British Open”, Ivor Robson, on the first tee in benign and somewhat soft conditions.
While the Queenslander couldn’t coax in his 22-foot birdie chance after a nice approach, playing partner Greg Owen of England nailed the first birdie of the championship from just six feet.
The early starters will look to take advantage of the morning conditions, much like South African Louis Oosthuizen did in 2010 on his way to victory.
Five years ago he produced a seven-under-65 to get the ball rolling on the way to his dominant seven-shot win.
The morning wave can expect wind of up to 20km/h while the afternoon groups may experience stronger winds still with the chance of light rain.
New South Welshman Matt Jones is the only other Australian set to start in the very early groups before world No.9 Jason Day joins Oosthuizen and 14-time major champion Tiger Woods some two and a half hours later.
Day is playing his first tournament since the US Open last month where he was felled by a vertigo attack but still managed to finish ninth.
“I’m feeling good, feeling ready to go and excited the tournament is finally here,” Day said.
“Looking forward to the challenge of links golf after some good prep this week.”
John Senden, Greg Chalmers, Scott Arnold, Adam Bland and Scott Hend all sit on the morning side of round one’s tee times.
The afternoon Australian tilt is led by former world No.1 and perennial British Open contender Adam Scott.
Scott was one of the first competitors to arrive at St Andrews early last week to ensure maximum preparation time.
In the afternoon Steven Bowditch, Geoff Ogilvy, Marc Leishman, Brett Rumford, Scott Strange and Marcus Fraser round out the 15-strong contingent searching for Australia’s first claret jug in 22 years and a first win at St Andrews in 55 years.