Welcome to the roundup of must-see sports news from Thursday, highlighted by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy being tamed by Royal Portrush as the Open Championship got underway with a penalizing first round for some of golf’s biggest stars.
Spanning the sports headlines, we’ll also take a look at Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg’s huge offensive output in a single inning against a divisional rival and a must-watch hole-in-one at the Open.
All this and more as we get you up to speed with the sports world on this Friday!
Royal Portrush Proves to Be Royal Pain for Golf Stars, Past & Present. Woods, McIlroy Struggle Mightily; Duval Makes 14 on One Hole
The first round of major golf played at Royal Portrush in 68 years was good-old fashioned Open Championship golf at its finest – chilly temperatures, gusty winds, rain and tough course conditions wreaking havoc on the world’s best players.
Tiger Woods shoots 7-over par, 78, as he labors through his opening round
Tiger Woods shot the worst opening-round score in his 21 Open Championship appearances, a 7-over par, 78, which is tied for his third-highest round in any major in his career.
Having had not teed it up in a month and playing in only his 11th competitive round since his monumental Masters win in April, Woods had a brutal start to his day, shooting a 41 on the front nine, with three bogeys and one double bogey.
The 15-time major champion never seemed to be comfortable during the round, at times laboring physically. The 43-year-old who underwent spinal fusion surgery in April of 2017 admitted that he was sore on Thursday and that he’s bound to have days like this following the procedure.
“That’s about all I can do,” Woods said. “And hopefully the body responds. That’s just the nature of the procedure that I had. I’m going to have days like this and got to fight through it. And I fought through it. Unfortunately, I did not post a very good score.”
Woods wasn’t alone with shooting poor scores on Thursday, as some of the tournament’s top contenders struggled to find the short grass and they were punished by Royal Portrush’s nasty rough.
Rory McIlroy’s much-anticipated opening round on home soil goes awry
The tournament’s betting favorite and Northern Ireland’s own, Rory McIlroy, shot one worse than Woods, recording an 8-over, 79.
The 2014 Open Champion’s day got off to about the worst start that anyone could have imagined, hitting his opening tee shot out of bounds, striking a woman in the stomach and breaking her cell phone. He’d go on to make a quadruple-bogey 8 and then would follow-up with a bogey on the second hole.
McIlroy, who broke the course record as a 16-year-old when he shot a 61, book-ended his nightmare round with a triple bogey on the 18th.
David Duval goes viral for all the wrong reasons, scores a 14 on one hole
2001 Open Champion David Duval had an all-time nightmare hole that lead to an all-time nightmare round on Thursday. The 47-year-old shot a 9-over par, 14 on the par-5 seventh hole, after having had played the wrong ball for the majority of the hole.
Duval lost his first two balls off the tee and then wound up playing the wrong ball until he reached the green and realized his mistake. At that point, Duval was forced to return to where the wrong ball was initially struck and when he couldn’t find his ball, he had to play the hole over again from the tee box.
“It’s just one of those God-awful nightmare scenarios that happened today and I happened to be on the end of it,” said Duval who’d go on to shoot a 20-over par, 91.
Kudos to Duval, who intends to tee it up in round 2.
J.B. Holmes leads after first round, 41 players within four strokes
Believe it or not, there were quite a few players who were able to make their way around Portrush on Thursday without suffering disaster. In fact, 41 players shot under par and are within four strokes of the lead heading into the second round on Friday.
American J.B. Holmes was the surprising first-round leader after shooting a 5-under par, 66. Shane Lowry from Ireland sits in second at 4-under-par and then a host of players (14 to be exact) are two off the lead at 3-under par. Some of the top contenders in the group at 3-under include world number one Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood and Tony Finau.
More from Heavy.com: Royal Portrush was the site of ‘Game of Thrones’ scenes
Who Says Pitchers Can’t Hit?! Strasburg Gets Two Hits Including 420-Foot Homer in One Inning
The Washington Nationals broke out in a big way on Thursday against the first-place Atlanta Braves, and it was pitcher Stephen Strasburg who led the charge.
Strasburg had quite the offensive output in the third inning, beginning a rally with a single, then scoring from first on an Adam Eaton triple. The right-handed pitcher then stepped to the plate for the second time in a big Nationals inning and cracked a 420-foot three-run home-run.
The Nationals would go on to beat up on the Braves, 13-4, and don’t look now, but they’ve cut the division lead to only 5 1/2 games.
PLAY OF THE DAY: Emiliano Grillo Makes Hole-In-One at the Open Championship
There were actually some great shots struck at Royal Portrush during a tumultuous first round at the Open Championship on Thursday. The highlight of the day came on the 200-yard par-3, 13th hole, where Emiliano Grillo made a hole-in-one.
Grillo’s shot landed on the left side of the green and then rolled down about 20-25 feet and into the cup for the first ace at the Open since 2016, when Louis Oosthuizen achieved the feat.
DON’T MISS THESE STORIES: Rounding Up the Top Sports Headlines
- Oklahoma City Thunder GM received death threats following Paul George trade, per report
- New York Yankees sweep Tampa Bay Rays in doubleheader, extend lead to eight in AL East
- WATCH: Yankees manager Aaron Boone rips into rookie umpire after being ejected
- Two horses dead after colliding during training at Del Mar track in California
WHAT’S ON TAP IN THE SPORTS WORLD
GOLF: The Open Championship
Golf’s final major of 2019, the 148th Open Championship continues today from Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. The Golf Channel will have all day second-round coverage beginning at 1:30 a.m. ET.
When: Today, 1:30 a.m. ET – 4 p.m. ET
TV: Golf Channel
BOXING: Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman
Forty-year-old Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) will face-off with undefeated WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman (29-0-0, 22 KOs) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
When: Saturday, 9 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports Pay-Per-View
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