Early bird O'Malley gets the Open going - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Early bird O'Malley gets the Open going

By Paul Mulvey 15/07/2004 05:59:30 AM Comments (0)

Australia's Peter O'Malley heads off at the crack of dawn on Friday to start the British Open as the first player to tee off.

O'Malley hopes to take advantage of calm early conditions when he tees off with Gary Evans and Brad Faxon at 6.30am (1530 AEST) at Royal Troon and be safely in the clubhouse when the afternoon wind picks up.

It's the second time tournament organiser the Royal and Ancient has given O'Malley the honour, albeit a very early one, of starting the Open, having teed off first at Carnoustie in 1999.

He fired a 76 that day and finished the tournament tied for 24th.

"The R and A must believe I'm a fast player and that I can get the field off to a fast start," he said.

"A 6.30am start is pretty early but it could be a huge advantage and I will be out there trying to make the most of it.

"I'll be setting the alarm clock around 4.30am, but it would be nice to get out there and shoot a good score and then settle back and see what everybody else manages."

O'Malley is one of a record 19 Australians in the Open with Adam Scott, Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby considered the country's best chance of securing its first major since Steve Elkington's 1995 US PGA triumph.

A host of Australians are teeing off early, with Andrew Buckle, Craig Parry, Brendan Jones and Newcastle amateur Nick Flanagan all in successive groups immediately behind O'Malley.

US Amateur champion Flanagan is out to finish his days as an unpaid player by winning the silver medal for the leading amateur before turning pro at next week's Irish Open.

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