THE OPEN: What the 1st Round Lead Means



Things are looking up for the John Deere Classic as winner Jordan Spieth sits T9 and playoff loser Zach Johnson sits alone in the lead after the first round of the Open Championship at Muirfield. Is the Quad Cities the new springboard to major championship glory? The course looks great and hard. But, although Zach was putting up a storm, it is hard to imagine him keeping that hot putter going.


Johnson will not only be challenged by a inevitably cooler putter, but recent history may also not be on his side.


Like we did for the other majors, we took a look at how the first round leaders ultimately fared over the past ten years. In the Masters, we learned the first round lead has often been a decent springboard to a good tournament (despite a couple playoff losers), while at the U.S. Open, the first round lead has not been quote as good an omen.


This brings us to the Open Championship. Is it more like the Masters or the U.S. Open?

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Surprisingly, the Open seems to fall a little in between with Tiger in 2005 and Sergio in 2007 able to finish with low score by Sunday (Sergio lost in the playoff). If one considers Adam Scott's collapse last year as near-success, recent history suggests that the first round lead has led to wins or near-wins in 3 of the past 10 years.


But, let's not forget the caveat of unpredictability at the Open and the relevance of Muirfield itself, as we discussed in our Open Championship preview.


Tomorrow, we will consider the second round leader and perhaps more importantly, what have prior Opens at Muirfield taught us about who can make a move this weekend.


As an aside, there is no way Fred Couples is going to win the Open with his twitchy putter, but his ad during the ESPN telecast was one of the better ones ... mostly because it harkened back to one of Steve Martin's and David Letterman's great bits.


I remember watching this when it originally aired and not realizing what was going on for longer that I would care to admit.


Martin is an amazing physical comedian. Notably, even though these two videos are separated by 30 years, Martin and Couples managed to use the same hair stylist.




Douglas Han