Irish Open Champion Jamie Donaldson continued his impressive links form with an opening 68 at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
The Welshman, who won the Irish title at Royal Portrush three weeks ago with a scintillating final round in front of record crowds in Northern Ireland, came home in 33 on a morning of complete calm on the Lancashire Coast on the other side of the Irish Sea.
“Today the wind wasn't there and the course was a bit more accessible,” said Donaldson, now 27th on The Race to Dubai after his maiden victory. “But it was still tough. You miss fairways, the golf course is very difficult. We've got to hit fairways and greens and give yourself chances. There were a lot of pins out there tucked away even on a day like this where there's not much wind and you still have to play for green centres.”
Padraig Harrington was the last player to win both the Irish and Open Championship titles in 1997, with Sir Nick Faldo the only other player to have achieved the feat in 1992, but Donaldson is not getting carried away.
“Ireland was a great week, but that was three weeks ago now,” he said. “Now we're at the Open and tomorrow is another day, so we need to stay focused and keep doing what we've done today.”
Donaldson was four shots behind early leader Adam Scott, who needed a birdie on the last for the lowest round in Open Championship history but dropped a shot instead for a six under par 64.