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At the venue where he stamped his greatness on the sport with the lowest score to par in major golf history, Tiger Woods trudged off the 18th at St Andrews on Thursday with his spectacular decline well and truly validated by the Old Course.
As Jordan Spieth effortlessly assumed the mantle of golf's number one draw with a five-under par 67 and Dustin Johnson went two better with a 65, Woods cut a forlorn figure as he carded a ragged four-over par 76.
On the course where he posted a 19-under par 269 total in 2000, the only 269 on the horizon this week is his room number at the St Andrews Hotel, where he has stayed on every visit since that 2000 success, and even making the cut this week already looks unlikely.
Tom Watson offered a scathing assessment of his opening round of 76 in his final appearance in the Open Championship on Thursday.
The 65-year-old five-time champion recovered from hitting his approach to the first into the Swilcan Burn with birdies on the sixth, ninth and 10th, but carded double bogeys on the 13th, 16th and 17th to come home in 41.
"I stunk up the joint today the way I played," said the former Ryder Cup captain, who announced on Wednesday that next year's Masters will also be his last.
"Too many sixes on the back nine ruined my day. I had a little string of birdies going but made some unforced errors coming in... a little bit of brilliance but a bit of ugliness averaged it out.
"When I got it to a couple under par I knew the back nine was going to play a little tougher into the wind and I knew I had to hit some quality shots, and I didn't. That was the disappointment. I didn't follow up some of the good shots I hit in the middle of the round and finish the deal. I failed."
Dustin Johnson moved to five under after driving to the 332-yard par-four ninth but playing partner Jordan Spieth's birdie attempt, set up in more conventional fashion, just brushed the edge of the hole as both turned in 31.
Streb's 12-foot par save at the 17th allowed him to finish with a six-under 66 and set the new target while Lingmerth, after his front nine equalled the St Andrews record set by Tony Jacklin (1970), Ian Baker-Finch and Paul Broadhurst (both 1990), came home in 40 for a three-under 69.
Johnson holed from close range to move joint top on six under with eight holes - albeit it the more difficult ones - still to play and almost holed his birdie attempt from the fringe of the 11th green.
Spieth, from a similar position, benefited from the read and sank his putt to join his compatriot at the top.
Both could not capitalise on the 348-yard par-four 12th despite Johnson smashing his drive pin-high just right of the green.
American 21-year-old Jordan Niebrugge tied the Old Course record for lowest score by an amateur at the Open with a five-under 67.
Sweden's David Lingmerth enjoyed a dream start to his Open debut as benign conditions at St Andrews saw the Old Course taken apart early on.
The 27-year-old Swede, who won his first PGA Tour title last month by beating England's Justin Rose in a play-off at the Memorial Tournament, raced to five under after just six holes having begun his round with four successive birdies.
With a slight breeze coming off the North Sea helping players on the outward holes rather than offering any hindrance, scoring was the easiest it is likely to be all week.
Those out early took full advantage - as well they might as the forecast is predicting they will get the worst of the weather on Friday afternoon.
Another Open debutant, Robert Streb, was also four under through six holes but Thomas Bjorn - playing in his 18th Open at the age of 44 - showed that experience still does count for something as he also got to four under at the turn with four birdies in five holes from the fourth.
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Heavy rain in Scotland forced play to be suspended at the 144th Open Championship on Friday morning.
Big-hitting American Dustin Johnson fired a seven-under 65 at St Andrews for a one-stroke advantage over the field