The 2011 Open: Debutant Mark Laskey leads Welsh hopes

Mark Laskey
Laskey secured his Open place through a local qualifying event

Mark Laskey led the Welsh challenge after the opening round at the Open Championship at Royal St George's.

The Challenge Tour professional, making his major debut, shot a three-over-par round of 73 on the Kent links, which included one birdie and four bogeys.

"I played really solid on the back nine, it was a pity to finish with a bogey," said Laskey.

Rhys Davies carded a 75 after dropping three early shots, while Simon Edwards struggled to a 12-over-par 82.

A dropped shot at the last hole ruined an otherwise unblemished back nine for Laskey, whose solitary birdie came on the par 3 sixth.

"I had two really good chances [for birdie] on the par 5 14th and 15th, which narrowly missed from 10 feet," he said.

"I think I'm still in the hunt and playing well enough to shoot a low score on Friday. I'll just keep being patient and wait for the putts to drop."

Davies made a terrible start with a double bogey on the first and a bogey on the second, but he settled with a birdie on the third and then hit seven straight pars.

That good work in blustery conditions was undone on the back nine when he dropped further shots at the 11th, 13th and 18th holes.

"It wasn't very good, it's as simple as that really," said the 26-year-old Welshman, who failed to make the halfway cut on his two previous Open appearances.

"I didn't do a whole lot right and probably got what I deserved. It was as bad a start you could get.

"I hit it virtually into an unplayable lie up the right on the first. I hit a very poor wedge on the second.

"So yes, it was just about the worse possible start. I was really pleased how I fought after that, but it wasn't very good to be honest."

Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, only in the tournament as a replacement for injured Vijay Singh, and England amateur Tom Lewis are the first-round leaders after sparking five-under-par rounds of 65.

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