Open Championship: Open round exceeds expectations - Manley

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Stuart Manley on taking the clubhouse lead at the 146th Open Championships.
2017 Open Championship on the BBC
Venue: Royal Birkdale Dates: 20-23 July
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Welshman Stuart Manley says his opening round of 68 at The Open exceeded his own expectations.

The 38-year-old, making his Open debut, briefly led the Championship with his two under par score in tough conditions at Royal Birkdale.

"I thought par would be a decent score on my first attempt," a delighted Manley told BBC Radio Wales.

Manley finished strongly with and eagle three on the par five 17th and a birdie on the last.

"To finish off the way I did a couple under par is great," he added.

It was a strong recovery from a shaky start which saw him drop a shot at the first after hitting his first drive at one of golf's majors into the rough.

"I was very nervous on the first tee, I was shaking a little bit with the weather was horrific," he said.

"I didn't warm up well and didn't have much rhythm with my waterproofs on.

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Manley takes clubhouse lead with eagle-birdie finish

"That's probably the most nervous I've ever been on a tee shot but at least I know what to expect for tomorrow now and I'll have a better game plan I guess."

Manley, who turned professional in 2003, is the only Welshman at Royal Bikdale and had a good following around the course.

"I have quite a few guys up from my local golf club, Mountain Ash, and my family is here so it's nice to put in a good score for them.

"It hasn't sunk in yet. Maybe tonight when I watch a little golf it'll sink in but I'm pretty chuffed."

The world number 520 will tee off at his second round on Friday at 11:47 BST but isn't re-evaluating his targets for the week after his positive start.

"You have to just plot your way around the course, with the links so tough so I'm not going to let my mind wander," he said.

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