LYTHAM ST ANNES, England — Australian Adam Scott set the pace by matching the course record with a 6-under-par 64 and a steely looking Tiger Woods rattled off four early birdies in a composed first-round 67 at the British Open on Thursday.
Scott conjured up eight birdies in benign conditions at Lytham to finish one ahead of Paul Lawrie, Zach Johnson and Nicolas Colsaerts.
Woods played beautifully controlled golf to birdie the first, fourth, sixth and seventh holes, getting his bid for a 15th major championship, and first in four years, off to a flawless start.
The American wasted birdie opportunities before twice finding treacherous rough at the 15th hole to drop his only shot of the day, but he was happy with a putting performance that revived memories of him at his pomp.
“I only hit one putt that was off line,” Woods, 36, told reporters. “I just needed to hit the putts a little bit harder. These greens are not quick.
“With the amount of rain they’ve had on these things, they’re not very fast.”
Scott, 32, started steadily but found real inspiration around the turn with five birdies in eight holes.
Three more in a row from the 14th put him in sight of a major championship record-tying 63, but he found the rough at the last and dropped a shot.
“The calm conditions today were surprising,” he said after equaling 1996 champion Tom Lehman’s 64.