Date: July 20, 2007

Garcia atones at Open

Ryder Cup team-mates Sergio Garcia and Paul McGinley were the stars on the opening day of the 136th Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday while New Zealand&aposs Michael Campbell is third with Rod Pampling the best of the Australian contingent. The last time the event came to the Scottish town eight years ago, Garcia finished dead last after rounds of 89 and 83 that remain the worst of his professional career. The 27-year-old, who has never been back until this week, improved an incredible 24 shots on that horrendous opening effort in 1999 with a marvellous six under par 65. As a result Garcia takes a two-stroke lead over McGinley into the second round while Tiger Woods remains the favourite after kicking off his bid for the first hat-trick of Open titles since Peter Thomson in 1956 with an incident-packed 69. Equal third-placed Campbell is one stroke ahead of Woods though, after producing a superb three-under 68. The New Zealander opened with three birdies on the front nine but produced three bogeys to go with a further three birdies on the return as he missed his chance to lead the field. Garcia, though, cried into his mother&aposs arms after coming off the course almost a broken young man last time. He was only three months out of the amateur ranks, but he had won the Irish Open two weeks earlier and just four days before had come second to Colin Montgomerie at the Scottish Open. Instead of starting with a triple bogey seven again, though, he kicked off with a birdie and really made his move at the start of the back nine with four more in five holes. For the Australians, the consistent Pampling produced a one-under 70 to be still in contention just a stroke behind Woods. Pampling picked up two strokes going out but two bogeys on the return saw him slip behind the leaders slightly. He is one-stroke ahead of the next best Australian in Nick O&aposHern who bogeyed the 18th to be on even-par after the first round, while John Senden, Matthew Zions and Richard Green are level after carding one-over 72s. Green, in particular, looked set for a superb score after picking up three strokes going out but two bogeys and a double bogey on the back nine saw the Australian falter. Green, though, is still one-stroke better off than Adam Scott and Robert Allenby and significantly ahead of Aaron Baddeley who recorded an unfortunate 78 on day one. Results from round one of the British Open: -6: Sergio Garcia 65 -4: Paul McGinley 67 -3: Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 68, Markus Brier 68, Angel Cabrera 68, Rory McIlroy(a) 68, Boo Weekley 68 -2: KJ Choi 69, Tiger Woods 69, Stewart Cink 69, Padraig Harrington 69, Miguel Angel Jim nez 69 -1: Gregory Bourdy 70, Rod Pampling (Australia) 70, Thomas Bj rn 70, Retief Goosen 70, Carl Pettersson 70,J J Henry 70, Rich Beem 70, Shaun Micheel 70, Peter Hanson 70, Luke Donald 70, Jim Furyk 70, Alastair Forsyth 70 also: E: Nick O&aposHern (Australia) 71 1: Richard Green (Australia) 72, John Senden (Australia) 72, Matthew Zions (Australia) 72 2: Robert Allenby (Australia) 73, Won Joon Lee (Australia) 73, Adam Scott (Australia) 73 3: Steven Alker (Australia) 74, Stuart Appleby (Australia) 74, Peter Fowler (Australia) 74, Scott Laycock (Australia) 74, Terry Pilkadaris (Australia) 74, Steven Alker (New Zealand) 74 4: Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 75, Paul Sheehan (Australia) 75 7: Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 78 8: Adam Groom (Australia) 79, Mark Hensby (Australia) 79 10: Ben Bunny (Australia) 81 12: Ewan Porter (Australia) 83