Richard Sterne had two bogeys on the card in an otherwise clean start on Thursday at The Open Championship, where he shot 68 to join a tie for fifth place.
The six-time European Tour winner went out in 33 blows and then survived Royal Troon Golf Club with a level-par 35 on the back stretch. He signed for three-under-par to move within two strokes of early leader Patrick Reed.
Sterne showed good form coming into the year’s third major after he tied for 11th place at the Open de France a fortnight ago. He backed up that result with a share of 13th at the Scottish Open last week and is clearly ready for links golf.
Haydn Porteous was the talk of the town on Thursday afternoon after rocketing out in 30 shots, to sit at six-under-par after nine holes. His back nine painted a different picture as he came in 40 to card a one-under-par 70.
The Joburg Open winner took advantage of what has emerged to be the easier nine as he picked up two birdies and two eagles before he stepped up to the 10th tee box.
The tougher back nine showed its teeth as the 22-year-old slipped with three bogeys in the first four holes of the homeward stretch. He made further bogeys at the 15th, 17th, and 18th with the one bright light being a birdie at the 16th. The major debutant will be disappointed, but can undoubtedly take positives away from his first experience of major championship golf.
Zander Lombard had just begun his round and was one-under-par after two holes. Ernie Els was level-par through 11, tied with Brandon Stone, who had completed six holes.