Putter saves Thongchai

Hoylake - A hot putter kept Thai star Thongchai Jaidee in damage control mode as he scrambled to an even par 72 in the first round of The Open Championship on Thursday.

The triple Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, who has won once and finished top-five in his last five tournaments in Europe, missed nine greens in regulation at Royal Liverpool but escaped thanks to a wonderful short game display.

The world number 34 grinded out 16 pars with one birdie offsetting a lone bogey as he ended the day six shots behind first round leader Rory McIlroy.

"I had to be patient. I tried to hit fairways and greens and made only one birdie and one bogey. It was solid," he said.

"Thankfully, I was putting well. When I missed the green, I always missed it on the good side, and I could chip and putt for pars. The game was on and off as I was trying to press a bit."

Thongchai lamented his cold iron play, saying he had missed an opportunity to get to red figures on a day when conditions were relatively mild for an Open Championship.

"The course is not very difficult, the winds weren't too strong. It's good weather for The Open. It was a perfect day. It wasn't too windy but the pins were a bit difficult," he said.

"I hit a couple of bad irons, especially on the par fives. I missed a five iron shot by 40 yards which was a bad miss. You have the three par fives on the back nine and you should make birdies there."


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