The Latest: Woods marks British Open return with birdie


Tiger Woods of the US arrives at the 1st tee box during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Thursday July 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

Tiger Woods of the US arrives at the 1st tee box during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Thursday July 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super)


Jordan Spieth of the US plays a ball from the rough on the 15th hole during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Thursday July 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super)


Jordan Spieth of the US prepares to putt on the 15th green during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Thursday July 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super)


CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (AP) — The Latest on the British (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

Tiger Woods returned to the British Open with a birdie.

Woods teed off to a rousing ovation on the first tee at Carnoustie, wearing a pair of kinesiology tape strips on the back of his neck because of soreness. He fired an iron down the crispy fairway and a wedge that settled 8 feet left of the cup that he made for birdie.

The last time he was seen at the Open, Woods shot 75 at St. Andrews to miss the cut. It was a much better start than his last major, where Woods opened with a triple bogey in the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills last month.

Kevin Kisner has set the early target of 5-under 66, one shot ahead of Erik Van Rooyen of South Africa and Tony Finau.

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3 p.m.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth ran into trouble late to stumble to a first round 1-over 72 at the British Open.

Spieth was contending for the lead before dropping four shots to par on the final four holes. The round left him six shots behind early first round-leader Kevin Kisner.

Spieth, who won last year at Royal Birkdale in a final round showdown with Matt Kuchar, was 3 under and bogey free when he hit his second shot on 15 into the sand. His third was left into the rough and he ended up missing a 25-footer to make double bogey.

Spieth would go on to bogey the next hole and added a final bogey on No. 18 when he hit his driver into the water.

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1:40 p.m.

Kevin Kisner hit fewer than half the fairways and found 50 percent of the greens in regulation in his first round at the British Open. It was his putting that took him atop the leaderboard on 5 under.

Kisner had only 22 putts, comfortably the fewest so far at Carnoustie, and said he was happy to see the greens quicker than he has usually found them at British Opens.

“Every year I’ve come over … every time I have to hit a putt, I feel I lose conscious of the line and don’t start on the line,” he said. “But this week, they’re not as slow as they have been.”

This is Kisner’s fourth appearance at golf’s oldest major. His best result is a tie for 54th at Royal Birkdale last year.

Americans have won the last five majors.

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12:35 p.m.

Carnoustie is widely known to have the toughest closing holes on the British Open rotation, and it’s proving the case in this first round.

The first eight groups have finished and there have been only two birdies between the 24 players on Nos. 16-18. The aggregate score over those three holes was 28 over.

They have been playing in what likely will be the best conditions of the day, too.

Kevin Kisner of the United States has just made par saves on each of the final three holes and signed for a 5-under 66, giving him a one-shot lead in the clubhouse.

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11:20 a.m.

Erik Van Rooyen enjoyed his first round at a British Open — except for the final hole.

The 28-year-old South African went out at 6:46 a.m. in the second group and has set the clubhouse target after a 4-under 67. The only shot the Open rookie dropped came at the last after he found a bunker with his drive.

Van Rooyen has recent form on the links: He was the 54-hole leader at the Irish Open two weeks ago and finished tied for fourth.

He could soon have company from Jordan Spieth, whose iron play has been excellent early in his round. The defending champion birdied the second, rolled in another birdie from 4 feet at No. 4, and was 2 under after five holes.

Sandy Lyle, who hit the first shot of this 147th British Open, finished bogey-bogey for a 75.

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10:05 a.m.

Danny Willett hasn’t had a victory since surprisingly winning the Masters in 2016, and he’s trying to put that right at the British Open.

After opening his first round with a bogey, Willett has rolled in five birdies to reach 4 under after 13 holes, tied for the lead with Erik Van Rooyen.

A mixture of injuries and a swing change saw Willett plunge from inside the world’s top 10 to outside the top 400. He’s currently No. 320.

Jordan Spieth has started his defense of the claret jug, sending an iron down the left of the first fairway and just short of a bunker. He is trying to become the fifth player in the last 50 years to win back-to-back in the British Open.

The wind remains light, but is forecast to pick up in the afternoon.

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8:45 a.m.

That nickname “Car-Nasty” might be taking a hit in the opening round of the British Open.

Carnoustie already is dry and fast with wispy rough. It’s not getting much help from the wind, either. Conditions were benign enough that Sandy Lyle made the turn in 1 under. The 60-year-old Scot hit the opening tee shot.

Erik Van Rooyen of South Africa was the first player to reach 3 under with his birdie on the par-5 fifth. Former Masters champion Danny Willett also had three birdies in six holes, though he opened with a bogey.

Defending champion Jordan Spieth plays in the morning. Tiger Woods plays this afternoon in his return to the Open for the first time since 2015.

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7:30 a.m.

Sandy Lyle of Scotland sent a mid-iron rolling along the crusty turf of Carnoustie to start the 147th playing of the British Open.

Lyle was chosen to hit the opening tee shot Thursday morning under a gray sky off the North Sea. He won the Open in 1985. Also in the opening group was two-time major champion Martin Kaymer and Andy Sullivan. They faced a course that was more yellow than green because of the unusually dry summer in Scotland.

Carnoustie has been called “Car-Nasty” in recent Opens because it is considered the toughest links in the Open rotation. This year’s championship was more of a mystery going into the first round. Fast conditions are difficult, but being so dry means the rough is thin and wispy.

Tiger Woods of the US arrives at the 1st tee box during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Thursday July 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/07/web1_120975772-1a8d193359764bd6900e23466aaa2ea5.jpgTiger Woods of the US arrives at the 1st tee box during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Thursday July 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

Jordan Spieth of the US plays a ball from the rough on the 15th hole during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Thursday July 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/07/web1_120975772-a0cf0c11d6f04a5c9b61cce16701e4e3.jpgJordan Spieth of the US plays a ball from the rough on the 15th hole during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Thursday July 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

Jordan Spieth of the US prepares to putt on the 15th green during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Thursday July 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/07/web1_120975772-d42ec70c3ce848b19935e12184c96055.jpgJordan Spieth of the US prepares to putt on the 15th green during the first round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland, Thursday July 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Super)